Fall reprieved after 2nd test red card

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) World Rugby has dismissed a red card awarded against France fullback Benjamin Fall in last weekend’s second test against New Zealand, ensuring he will be available for the third test at Dunedin on Saturday.

Fall was sent off in the 12th minute of the test at Wellington for causing All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett to fall awkwardly after leaping high to catch a kick. Barrett suffered a head injury, took no further part in the second test and is expected to be unavailable for the third.

A World Rugby judicial committee found Fall should not have been sent off. It said his eyes were on the ball and he had not intended to collide with Barrett. The contact occurred because Fall had altered his line after a slight collision with All Blacks center Anton Lienert-Brown.

”This collision then causes the player to lose his balance, stumble and be propelled or pushed towards the path of (Barrett),” World Rugby said in a statement. ”By reason of those matters the player’s attempt to contest the ball was compromised.”

World Rugby said the decision should not be construed as being critical of Australian referee Angus Gardiner.

France lost the second test 26-13 after playing for 68 minutes with 14 men, also conceding the three-match series by going down 2-0.