12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
IRB judical officer Judge Wyn Williams has adjudged that New Zealand centre Ma'a Nonu "did not drive" Ireland's Gordon D'Arcy "into the ground" during last Saturday's Test match at Lansdowne Road.
Nonu appeared at an International Rugby Board disciplinary hearing in London on Tuesday evening after match citing commissioner Douglas Hunter (Scotland) confirmed that the powerful Wellington back had a case to answer with reference to his 52nd-minute tackle of D'Arcy.
The tackle saw D'Arcy lifted into the air and dumped to the Lansdowne Road turf by Nonu in an apparent spear-like motion. The incident brought back memories of the spear tackle that New Zealand skipper Tana Umaga and Keven Mealamu performed on Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll, dislocating the Dubliner's shoulder in the process, in June's first Lions Test.
Fortunately D'Arcy escaped injury this time, and that is likely to have helped Judge Williams in making his decision, which he delayed until this evening.
Saturday saw South African referee Jonathan Kaplan issue a caution to Nonu and a penalty to Ireland at the time - and this was ruled as sufficient punishment by Judge Williams.
An IRB statement confirmed: "His Honour Judge Wyn Williams QC (Wales) concluded that the evidence did not demonstrate that the player drove his opponent into the ground after lifting in the tackle.
"Furthermore it was also accepted that although the player had committed a dangerous tackle on Gordon D'Arcy, the referee had seen the incident and that his reasons why he dealt with the tackle by awarding a penalty and a caution were not wrong.
"Therefore no penalty was imposed and the player is free to continue playing."