TECH Waratahs have pleaded with IRU officials to overturn decorated halfback Josh Darby's ban for next week's grand final.
Darby, who is a former Illawarra and NSW Country representative, picked up his third yellow card for 2012 in last week's major semi-final victory over Avondale, resulting in an automatic one-game suspension.
But the Tahs believe Darby was wrongly sin-binned and insist they have clear video evidence to prove their case.
The Waratahs have contacted the Illawarra Rugby Union and requested a review of Darby's situation.
"You can see it all very clearly in the video," Tech Tahs coach Sean Filan said.
"Josh was basically at the back of our ruck. An Avondale player was on the ground and he grabs Josh's leg. Josh pulls his leg out from the bloke's grasp and goes back in to get the ball with his hands, and you can see his feet the whole time.
"He's gone to pass the ball and an Avondale player has come charging from an off-side position and knocked him flying five metres, and then Josh got sin-binned.
"At this stage he's not allowed to play in the grand final but we're hoping for a review of that, considering the fact he's been a long-term Illawarra and Country player and he hasn't been sent off before. He actually did nothing to get sin-binned.
"We've got a terrific angle of it and you can see his feet the whole time.
"Josh didn't ruck him in any way. All he did was try to free himself from an illegal tackle.
"To miss a grand final over that ... if anything he should be commended for the way he behaved. A guy came in and charged him and knocked him over and Josh got up and did nothing."
Filan said his club did not have an issue with referee Richard McMullen's ruling. "Richard had a fantastic game," he said.
"It's very hard to see everything when you're the referee and in no way are we blaming the ref.
"We just want the judiciary to have a look at it because the video shows it clearly. The club believes if he gets a hearing he'll be right to play. He's always supported Illawarra rugby and hopefully they'll support him."
IRU acting president Bert Roodenrys said the matter was being investigated.
"We're in ongoing discussions with [Tech Waratahs president] Paul Condon and we're seeking legal advice on the submission made by Tech," Roodenrys said.
"We're hoping to resolve the situation as quickly as possible."
Darby yesterday maintained his innocence.
"We've got a DVD of it and it shows me not doing what the ref said I did," the 32-year-old said.
"I was sin-binned for kicking a bloke in the head. I said I didn't do it. When I went back on I asked the ref why he didn't send me off and he told me the guy was on the ball - but in my book, if you kick a bloke in the head you're going to get a red card straight away, not a yellow. I knew straight away I was on my third yellow card and I was pretty shattered," he said.
"Obviously it's disappointing, especially if it's my last season."