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Leinster announce decision to appeal Cian Healy's two-week suspension

The province feel due process was not followed in Healy’s disciplinary hearing.

Updated at 19.10

LEINSTER HAVE ANNOUNCED that they are appealing Cian Healy’s two-week suspension and stated their confidence that the appeal will be successful.

The province feel due process was not followed in today’s disciplinary hearing, as Healy was banned for an offence other than the one he was cited for.

Earlier today, EPCR confirmed the two-week suspension for Healy for an offence involving Toulon’s Guilhem Guirado in Leinster’s Champions Cup defeat last weekend.

Cian Healy Healy at Leinster training earlier this week. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The Ireland international is set to miss Saturday’s return leg against the three-time European champions in the Aviva Stadium under the current terms of the ban, as well as the Guinness Pro12 meeting with Munster in Limerick on 27 December.

However, Leinster have taken up their right to appeal the suspension.

A statement from the province this evening says Leinster have asked the disciplinary committee to “lift Cian Healy’s suspension pending the outcome of the appeal, which Leinster are confident will be successful.”

Healy was cited by last weekend’s citing commissioner John Byett for an offence in the 26th minute. The loosehead prop was yellow carded by referee Nigel Owens at the time, but Byett felt the action was worthy of a citing under Law 10.4 (a), for striking with the knee.

Healy pleaded not guilty at today’s disciplinary hearing in Paris, while Guy Easterby and Leinster’s legal representative, Donal Spring, also made submissions to independent judicial officer Roger Morris.

Morris found that the “charge of striking could not be proven,” according to an EPCR statement this afternoon, but “he determined that Healy had committed an act of foul play” and amended the charge to “[d]angerous charging or obstructing or grabbing of an opponent without the ball, including shouldering – Law 10.4 (f) and Law 10.4 (k).”

With the offence on the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions, Morris handed Healy a two-week suspension. There was no reduction to the ban due to “the fact that the player does not have a clean disciplinary record.”

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Leinster’s statement this evening reads as follows:

“Having heard submissions from both sides and the player himself who denied the charge, the Judicial Officer [Morris] retired to consider the matter. On returning he informed those present that the charge under Law 10.4 (a) was not proven.

“However he went on to find that Cian Healy had contravened Law 10.4 (f) which charge had not been put to the player by either the Judicial Officer or EPCR at any stage before or during the Disciplinary Hearing.

“Leinster believe that this is a failure to follow due process and is unfair to Cian Healy.”
http://vine.co/v/iZEqphPLDQn

Healy is currently suspended until 28 December 2015, although Leinster have asked that the ban be lifted pending the outcome of the appeal.

Speaking this afternoon at UCD before news of Healy’s suspension came though, Leinster head coach Leo Cullen stated his surprise that the prop had even been cited.

“I thought that Cian one was a tough call,” said Cullen. “If you watch his line of vision, he’s fully focused on entering the contact area and if anything the Toulon player rolls into the gate which is where Cian is targeting.

“It’d be different if Cian came through the side. All the officials when we meet, they preach the tackler must roll to the side of the breakdown. The Toulon player rolls into the gate and that’s a penalty offence – that’s the way we would teach our players to roll out of the tackle because we don’t want to give away those penalties.

“So that was a tough call and we’ve had a few discussions around that side of the game and the citing commissioner obviously sees it different. [I was] surprised it was a citing in the first place. Cian is a pretty exceptional player and he’d be a loss for any team, for sure.”

- Reporting from Leinster’s UCD base by Ryan Bailey.

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