At a disciplinary hearing in London today, the citing made against Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris was considered but not upheld.
The independent Six Nations disciplinary committee, chaired by England’s Antony Davies together with Douglas Hunter (Scotland) and John Doubleday (England), met to consider a citing complaint under law 10.4(j).
The citing was made by Achille Reali (Italy), the independent citing commissioner, appointed for the RBS 6 Nations match between Ireland and Wales in Dublin last weekend.
The committee, after careful analysis of the video evidence and consideration of the player’s and his representative’s explanation of the tackle, did not uphold the citing.
Therefore Stephen Ferris is free to play for Ireland in their Championship clash with France in Paris on Saturday night.
Following the decision of the committee today, Ireland team manager Michael Kearney said: “We are obviously delighted that Stephen has been totally exonerated of any wrongdoing by the disciplinary committee and that he is now available for selection this weekend against France.
“While we understand and fully support the stance to stamp out dangerous tackles in the game to make it safe at all levels, the disciplinary committee itself felt that the decision to award a penalty was incorrect and we also felt that it was a fair and legitimate tackle by Stephen.
“He is a hard and fair player and I think that his previous disciplinary record supports why we felt so strongly about his defence.
“The focus now for Stephen and the rest of the squad is to prepare for the game against France this weekend.”
Meanwhile, Wales lock Bradley Davies has been banned for seven weeks following his dangerous tackle on Ireland’s Donnacha Ryan during last Sunday’s game.
An independent Six Nations disciplinary committee, having considered the citing report and the television footage and having listened to the player’s explanation, found that the incident, in which the player lifted his opponent beyond a horizontal position but did not bring him to the ground safely contrary to law 10.4(j) and the IRB’s particular emphasis on this aspect of the game, merited a top end entry to the IRB’s table of sanctions.
The committee applied an additional two weeks to the entry point of 10 weeks to reflect the need for a deterrent for this type of foul play.
But, in mitigation, they took account of various factors in the player’s favour including his admission of guilt, his previous good disciplinary record and his conduct at the hearing in allowing the maximum possible reduction of five weeks.
Davies can resume playing on March 26 and has the right of appeal.