Following an independent disciplinary hearing in London yesterday, Leinster prop Cian Healy was handed a two-week suspension for striking Toulon’s Guilhem Guirado in the province’s European Rugby Champions Cup encounter with the Top 14 outfit on December 13.
Healy received a yellow-card for the offence at the time, and even though he was initially issued with a retrospective two-week ban, after Leinster successfully argued the Clontarf native was not afforded due process, he was cleared to play against the same opposition in the Aviva Stadium six days later.
He also featured from the replacements bench away to Munster last Sunday, but the citing complaint delivered by match citing commissioner John Byett of England was yesterday upheld by independent judicial officer, Jerry Summers.
As Healy’s offence (striking with the knee) was at the low end of World Rugby’s sanctions, a three-week suspension was selected as the appropriate entry point, but this was subsequently reduced by one week after Healy’s good character and good conduct during the hearing was take into account.
Speaking prior to this decision, Leinster coach Cullen said the hearing was unhelpful ahead of their game against Connacht this evening. Healy’s preparations had been disrupted by the hearing, and as a result, Cullen had already decided to leave him out of the match-day squad.
“It is very unhelpful, to say the very least. It’s been a tough situation for us. I said at the time I didn’t feel it was a yellow card, I didn’t think it was a penalty, ” Cullen said at the RDS yesterday. “I felt it compromised the team and Cian’s preparation into Toulon the following week, the fact he had to go to Paris. It’s disappointing, but it’s a fact of life and we have to get on with it and the team has to prepare for a very tough game against Connacht, who are ahead of us in the table.
“It’s important for the team we have clarity going into the weekend and that’s why Cian isn’t named. We felt it compromised us going into Toulon and that was on a Wednesday.”
Healy’s suspension comes to an end on Monday, January 11, which means he would be available for Leinster’s Champions Cup fixture against Bath five days later. However, both Healy and European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) have the right to appeal the decision.
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