Rugby: Suspended Fortey misses showdown with Munster

GLOUCESTER hooker Chris Fortey will miss Saturday’s Heineken Cup Pool Five game against Munster at Kingsholm.

Fortey and Harlequins lock Jim Evans were suspended for a week after a disciplinary hearing at Twickenham found them both guilty of striking an opponent.

The pair were red-carded in the game at Kingsholm on December 27 when they came to blows in the second half of Gloucester’s 18-17 victory.

Rugby Football Union disciplinary officer Jeff Blackett, Jonathan Dance and Peter Trunkfield suspended the players until Wednesday January 14 and ordered them each to pay £150 in costs.

“We trust the judgment of the referee (Tony Spreadbury) who judged that the incident warranted a red card,” said Blackett, the panel chairman.

“The panel must be seen to uphold the image of the game and a suspension is appropriate, albeit one at the lower end of the scale.”

Meanwhile, Leinster coach Garry Ella will ask his backroom boys to work overtime in advance of Sale’s visit to Lansdowne Road on Friday evening.

Uppermost in Ella’s mind is to ensure that top-notchers Shane Horgan, Eric Miller and Christian Warner are all fit to face the English side in a crucial Heineken Cup tie. Warner is the least likely of the three to make it but Ella has the compensation of having Matt Leek standing by.

Horgan has already been named in the side to partner Brian O’Driscoll in the centre and, although he missed the second half of yesterday’s all-day training session, Ella is confident he will make it through.

Miller has a shoulder injury but again Ella feels the Irish and Lyons back-row forward will be in action against the English outfit.

Another worrying factor of Friday’s game will be the presence of Jason Robinson in the Sale lineup. Ella has huge regard for the English full-back who scored a crucial try in helping England to the World Cup title a couple of months ago.

Mindful of their close call in the Celtic League against Ulster last weekend, Ella still feels confident that Leinster will produce the goods for the third successive time in this particular competition.

LEINSTER: G. Dempsey, J. McWeeney, B. O’Driscoll, S. Horgan, G. D’Arcy, C. Warner - M. Leek, B. O’Meara, R. Corrigan (capt), S. Byrne, P. Coyle, M. O’Kelly, B. Gissing, E. Miller/A. McCullen, K. Gleeson, V. Costello. Replacements; J. Moran, G. Hickie, A. McCullen/D. Dillon, S. Jennings, B. O’Riordan, M. Leek/B. Burke, D. Quinlan.

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