IRFU Healy appeal won't be heard until next week
The IRFU’s appeal against Cian Healy’s three-week suspension, imposed by an independent Six Nations Disciplinary Committee, will not be heard before Ireland face Scotland in Murrayfield on Sunday, and is likely to take place around the middle of next week.
Healy received a three-week ban for an infringement of Law 10.4(b) (stamping or trampling) in the match against England on February 10th but yesterday’s statement by the Six Nations confirmed the union’s appeal on Healy’s behalf “relates to, among other things, the specific period covered by the three-week playing suspension.”
Indeed, in something of a landmark case, the union will not be appealing the verdict or the suspension, more the unprecedented decision of the committee to impose the three-week ban from last weekend rather than the customary starting point, when they received notification of the citing on February 12th, two days after the game.
The committee’s decision took into account a presumption that Healy would not be playing for Leinster last weekend, thus effectively equating to a four-week suspension which also took in the Ireland-France game in a fortnight’s time. Were the appeal successful, Healy would be eligible to play against France.
England head coach Stuart Lancaster believes the recall of Manu Tuilagi, Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes to his starting line-up and the impact players available to him on the bench can be a winning combination against France at Twickenham tomorrow.
“I don’t think the game is going to be won and lost in the first half,” said Lancaster. “For me the games have three key components – one is the setpiece, one is the gainline and the other is having an impact in the second half, especially in the last 20 minutes.”
France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has made eight changes for Saturday’s match. He has opted for a new half-back pairing, with Morgan Parra and Francois Trinh-Duc replacing Maxime Machenaud and Frederic Michalak following Les Bleus’ 16-6 defeat against Wales at the Stade de France 12 days ago.
ENGLAND ( v France): A Goode; C Ashton, M Tuilagi, B Barritt, M Brown; O Farrell, B Youngs; J Marler, D Hartley, D Cole, J Launchbury, G Parling, C Lawes, C Robshaw, T Wood. Replacements: T Youngs, D Wilson, M Vunipola, J Haskell, T Waldrom, D Care, T Flood, B Twelvetrees.
FRANCE: Y Huget; V Clerc, M Bastareaud, W Fofana, B Fall; F Trinh-Duc, M Parra; T Domingo, B Kayser, N Mas, C Samson, Y Maestri, Y Nyanga, T Dusautoir (capt), L Picamoles. Replacements: D Szarzewski, V Debaty, L Ducalcon, J Suta, A Claasen, M Machenaud, F Michalak, F Fritz.
ITALY (v Wales): A Masi; G Venditt, T Benvenuti, G Canale, L McLean; K Burton, E Gori; A Lo Cicero, L Ghiraldini, M Castrogiovanni (capt), A Pavanello, F Minto, A Zanni, S Favaro, M Vosawai. Replacements: D Giazzon, A De Marchi, L Cittadini, Q Geldenhuys, P Derbyshire, T Botes, L Orquera, G Garcia.