In-form flanker Sean O’Brien is available for selection in the British & Irish Lions’ third Test against New Zealand after an independent judicial committee dismissed his citing.
After reviewing video evidence, player testimony and legal submissions, the committee decided not to uphold the complaint against Sean O’Brien, who was a key figure in yesterday’s 24-21 second Test win for the Lions at Westpac Stadium.
He was subsequent cited by Australian citing commissioner Scott Nowland under law 10.4 (a) ‘for allegedly striking New Zealand winger Waisake Naholo with a swinging arm’. “The citing commissioner said the incident, in the 19th minute of the second half, is deemed to have met the threshold for a red card,” a statement read.
However, following a hearing in Wellington today which lasted upwards of three hours, New Zealand Rugby confirmed: “Having conducted a detailed review of all the evidence available, including all video footage and additional evidence from the player and submissions from his legal representative Max Duthie, the independent judicial committee, comprising Adam Casselden SC (chair), David Croft and John Langford, dismissed the citing complaint.”
Ireland international O’Brien commented afterwards: “Firstly, I hope Waisake is okay. I’d like to thank the panel for carefully considering the case and I am looking forward to rejoining the whole squad to prepare for the final Test.”
British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland said: “We’d like to thank the panel for their professional and diligent approach. Sean is a tough but fair player and we are pleased that the panel dismissed the citing.”