O'Brien escapes ban for Nyanga hit

Leinster star free to play in the Heineken Cup final after ERC turn a blind eye to altercation.

LEINSTER’S SEAN O’BRIEN will be available for the Heineken Cup final against Northampton on May 21 after the ERC’s disciplinary committee chose not to issue him with a citation for violent conduct.

Video footage from Saturday’s semi-final victory over Toulouse shows the 24-year-old striking flanker Yannick Nyanga in the run-up to the French side’s second try, scored by Louis Picamoles.

Nyanga required brief medical attention following the altercation and was replaced by Thierry Dusautoir as the game restarted.

As neither match referee Dave Pearson nor the touch judges appeared to see the incident, it was expected that the ERC would examine replays to see if any sanctions should be imposed on the Carlow man.

However, the 50-hour window within which such a decision has to be taken expired yesterday afternoon, leaving O’Brien free to prepare for the final in Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium in three weeks.

Tickets for the game are still available through Ticketmaster and other usual providers.

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Niall Kelly

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