Ex-Wales international Jonathan Davies has described the World Cup’s disciplinary hearings as a “disgrace”.
The dual-code international told Kicca.com that smaller countries were “getting a walloping” from the independent citing commission.
Davies’s criticisms – and those of other former players – are in response to a number of seemingly inconsistent punishments.
Australia flanker Michael Hooper was banned for seven days following an aggressive clearout of England’s Mike Brown – an offence that normally carries a minimum two-week ban.
Ireland’s Sean O’Brien also received a one-week ban after admitting punching France’s Pascal Pape in Sunday’s Pool D game.
But Samoa’s Alesana Tuilagi was banned for five weeks, later reduced to two on appeal, when his knee made contact with Harumichi Tatekawa against Japan.
And Fiji’s wing Nemani Nadolo missed his country’s match against Wales after receiving a two-week suspension for a tip tackle against Australia.
Davies said Tier 2 nations were being treated harshly, adding that the situation was becoming “a bit of a joke”.
“Is it because they haven’t got the better lawyers?” he asked.
“It’s an absolute disgrace and spoiling the World Cup. I don’t know who the people are doing the citings but they need a little bit of empathy with the game because you just need consistency.”
Former outside-half Davies, who won 37 caps for Wales, said the process was “turning into a farce” following Ford and Gray’s three-week bans, although the players have 48 hours to appeal and Scottish Rugby is expected to issue a statement at 18:00 BST on Wednesday.
“If Scotland make the World Cup final, those players miss it,” said Davies. “Let’s have a little bit of common sense and be fair and honest with everyone.”
Former Scotland prop Peter Wright has also asked for greater consistency from the independent citing commission, while ex-Scotland wing Kenny Logan described Ford and Gray’s punishments as a “joke”.