British & Irish Lions Prop, Cian Healy has been cleared of acts contrary to good sportsmanship, following a two and a half hour hearing today in Brisbane.
Healy was cited following an incident in the 17th minute of the opening match of the DHL Australia 2013 Lions Tour on Wednesday evening under Law 10.4 m Acts contrary to good sportsmanship against Emirates Western Force scrumhalf, Brett Sheehan.
Hearing the case Judicial Officer, Nigel Hampton QC, found insufficient evidence to support the allegations and cleared Healy.
In his findings Mr Hampton stated that on the balance of probabilities he was not satisfied that Healy bit Force scrumhalf, Brett Sheehan.
“There is no conclusive video evidence of the incident and post-match it was not possible to distinguish any discernible bite marks outside of the ‘regular’ marks usually found following a Rugby match,” Mr Hampton said in his findings.
“I cannot find proven on the balance of probabilities that there was a deliberate bite here, and the citing complaint is not upheld.”
Hampton determined that during the tackle Sheehan’s arm may have come in contact with Healy’s mouth and due to the pressure of the tackle it is likely that unavoidable contact between Healy’s mouth and teeth and Sheehan’s arm occurred.
The decision means Healy will be available for selection.
Healy was understandably relieved by the decision.
“I am very relieved that the hearing has cleared me of such an allegation" said the Leinster front rower. "I was naturally very disappointed that there was a citing in the first place.
I always maintained that nothing happened and that I had done nothing illegal. The opposition player’s arm hit me. It is as simple as that.
The support I had from the management and all the lads was wonderful and I am glad that it is all over.”
Lions Tour Manager Andy Irvine added: "The British & Irish Lions are very pleased with the outcome of today’s judicial hearing in Brisbane.
The Judicial Officer, Nigel Hampton QC, was extremely fair and thoroughly considered all the facts of the case in great detail.
We always believed that Cian had done nothing wrong and had not acted maliciously in any way.
The decision was important to the player’s and indeed squad’s integrity as the allegation was a serious one.”