O'Brien cleared in boost for B&I Lions
NEWS: The British and Irish Lions received a massive boost with the news that flank Sean O'Brien has been cleared on a charge of striking an opponent.
The news that O'Brien avoided a ban means he is free to play next week's decisive third Test against New Zealand.
The all-Australian judicial panel cleared O'Brien over the alleged strike on All Black wing Waisake Naholo, which the citing commissioner had said "met the threshold for a red card".
"Having conducted a detailed review of all the evidence available - including all video footage and additional evidence from the player and submissions from his legal representative Max Duthie - the dismissed the citing complaint," a statement said.
the judicial committee comprised Adam Casselden (chairman), along with former Australian players David Croft and John Langford.
The decision comes after the panel issued a four-week ban for Sonny Bill Williams, who became the first All Black to be sent off on home soil during the B&I Lions' 24-21 victory in Wellington at the weekend.
O'Brien will be a key man as the Lions bid to win their first series in New Zealand since 1971, as shown when he completed a brilliant running try in the tourists' first-Test defeat in Auckland.
"Firstly, I hope Waisake is ok," O'Brien said in response to the result of his hearing.
"I'd like to thank the panel for carefully considering the case and I am looking forward to re-joining the whole squad to prepare for the final Test."
British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland also expressed his delight to the outcome.
"We'd like to thank the panel for their professional and diligent approach," Gatland said.
"Sean is a tough but fair player and we are pleased that the panel dismissed the citing."