Ireland prop Cian Healy has been ruled out of Ireland’s Six Nations match against Scotland at Murrayfield and will also miss the fixture against France after he was banned until 10 March for stamping on Dan Cole during Sunday’s 12-6 defeat by England.
The 25-year-old was handed the ban at a disciplinary meeting in London yesterday.
Healy trod on Cole’s ankle after an Ireland maul had collapsed in an incident at the Aviva Stadium which was missed by referee Jerome Garces but sparked a large brawl. As a result, Healy was cited for the alleged offence.
An independent disciplinary committee decided that Healy’s actions should be categorised as a mid-range offence in terms of seriousness, which carries a sanction of five weeks. The committee also allowed the maximum two weeks of mitigation but, by handing down a suspension of three weeks, recognised the player would not have played for his province this weekend and the ban will end at midnight on Sunday, 10 March.
The recommended suspension for a low-end stamping offence is two weeks, rising to five weeks for a mid-range incident and nine weeks up to a maximum of one year for something more serious.
Television replays clearly showed the Leinster forward, who is a leading contender for selection to the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia this summer, stamping on Cole. A statement of the committee’s findings said: “The committee, having viewed the footage of the incident and listened to the representations by and on behalf of the player, found that the stamp should be categorised as a mid-range offence in terms of seriousness, which carries a sanction of five weeks.”
Healy has the right to appeal the ban, which will come as a fresh blow to Ireland coach Dec-lan Kidney. The Ireland coach has already lost winger Simon Zebo for up to 10 weeks with a broken foot, while stand-off Jonathan Sexton is struggling with a hamstring injury.