British & Irish Lions 2013
Lion didn't bite the Aussie
Fri, 07 Jun 2013 07:19
Sheehan's arm may have come in contact with Healy's mouth
British and Irish Lions forward Cian Healy was cleared of biting at a disciplinary hearing in Brisbane on Friday, avoiding a lengthy ban.
The Irish prop was cited following an incident in the 17th minute of the Lions' first tour match in Australia against Western Force in Perth on Wednesday.
Force scrumhalf Brett Sheehan claimed he was bitten in a maul and Healy was cited under a law relating to good sportsmanship. He denied the allegation.
After a two-and-a-half-hour hearing, judicial officer Nigel Hampton found insufficient evidence to support the allegations.
In his findings, Hampton stated that on the balance of probabilities he was not satisfied that Healy had bitten Sheehan.
"There is no conclusive video evidence of the incident and post-match it was not possible to distinguish any discernible bite marks outside of the 'regular' marks usually found following a rugby match," Hampton said in his findings.
"I cannot find proven on the balance of probabilities that there was a deliberate bite here, and the citing complaint is not upheld."
Hampton said that during the tackle Sheehan's arm may have come in contact with Healy's mouth and due to the pressure of the tackle, it was likely that there was unavoidable contact between Healy's teeth and his opponent's arm.
The decision means Healy will be available for selection on the tour although the Leinster front row forward injured his left ankle against Force and was ruled out of Saturday's match against the Queensland Reds.
The Lions management have already called up England prop Alex Corbisiero as cover for Healy.
Lions Manager Andy Irvine said they are "very pleased" with the outcome of the judicial hearing in Brisbane.
"The Judicial Officer [Nigel Hampton] was extremely fair and thoroughly considered all the facts of the case in great detail," Irvine said.
"We always believed that Cian had done nothing wrong and had not acted maliciously in any way.
"The decision was important to the player’s and indeed squad’s integrity as the allegation was a serious one."
Healy said he was very relieved that the hearing cleared him of the allegation.
"I was naturally very disappointed that there was a citing in the first place," Healy said.
"I always maintained that nothing happened and that I had done nothing illegal. The opposition player’s arm hit me. It is as simple as that.
"The support I had from the management and all the lads was wonderful and I am glad that it is all over."
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