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McGrath escapes citing after knee offence to relieve World Cup fears

Ian Madigan has also escaped any sanctions for his use of the boot on Konstantin Mikautadze.

JACK MCGRATH HAS not been cited for the kneeing offence that saw him sin binned in Ireland’s 22-21 defeat to the Barbarians last night at Thomond Park.

Jack McGrath McGrath has not been and will not be cited. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

An IRFU spokesperson confirmed to The42 that the loosehead prop did not and will not face a disciplinary hearing over the incident, while out-half Ian Madigan has similarly avoided a citing for a potential stamping offence.

The shortened preparation timeframe before the Ireland v Baa-Baas fixture was reflected in a truncated window around disciplinary issues afterwards.

Opposition teams were allowed only an hour after the final whistle to refer any potential incidents of foul play to the citing commissioner, the IRFU’s Eddie Walsh in this case. Baa-Baas head coach Robbie Deans did not do so.

The citing commissioner was allowed two hours after the final whistle in which to highlight any alleged foul play that would require a disciplinary hearing. That hearing would then have taken place at Thomond Park last night.

However, Walsh didn’t deem McGrath’s knee into the back of Barbarians’ lock Konstantin Mikautadze worthy of any more than the yellow card dished out by referee Greg Garner during the game.

Walsh also felt that Madigan’s use of the boot on Mikautadze in the same passage of the game was not dangerous play.

As such, both players will move on in relief, particularly McGrath. France’s Pascal Papé was banned for 10 weeks for a kneeing offence on Ireland’s Jamie Heaslip during the Six Nations this year, and there were suggestions that McGrath could be facing a hefty suspension.

Craig Gilroy, Luke Marshall, Ian Madigan, Cian Kelleher, Paddy Jackson and Jordi Murphy dejected Ireland were left disappointed by the result last night. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

However, any fears that the Leinster front row might miss the World Cup warm-up schedule and even the beginning of the global tournament itself have been lifted. Joe Schmidt will breath a sigh of relief at not having to deal any further with the issue.

That said, the Ireland head coach confirmed last night that the failure of McGrath to return to play last night even after his 10-minute spell in the sin bin had elapsed was “partially” down to the prop’s loss of discipline.

The importance of that element of Ireland’s play is something Schmidt has repeatedly hammered home to his players and McGrath will be aware that his standards must not dip again.

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Murray Kinsella

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