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Cian Healy free to play in Champions Cup after red card overturned

By Josh Raisey
Cian Healy of Leinster leaves the pitch after being shown a red card. (Photo By Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Leinster have received a boost heading into the opening rounds of the Heineken Champions Cup after Cian Healy’s red card at the weekend was downgraded to a yellow, meaning the he is available to play.


The loosehead prop was shown a red card on 21 minutes by referee Christophe Ridley in Leinster’s United Rugby Championship clash with Ulster on Saturday after a head-on-head collision with hooker Tom Stewart, who left the field of play.

His chances of playing in the Champions Cup over the coming weeks were suddenly thrown into jeopardy, but a disciplinary panel has overturned the referee’s decision.

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A URC statement reads: “The Disciplinary process related to Cian Healy Red Card in the BKT United Rugby Championship Round 9 game against Ulster on Saturday December 3 has been overturned.

“After an act of foul play against Ulster player No 2 (Tom Stewart), referee Christophe Ridley showed the Player a Red Card in the 20th minute of the game under Law 9.13 – A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.

“Upon review of the incident, the Panel overseeing the disciplinary process (Robert Milligan KC (Chair, Scotland), Nigel Williams (Wales), Simon Thomas (Wales), deemed that there was sufficient mitigating factors to reduce the Red Card to a Yellow Card. Therefore the Red Card was not upheld and the Player can return to play effective immediately.”

This is a major boost for Leo Cullen, as his side face the daunting test of taking on Racing 92 at La Defense Arena on Saturday, who are on a five match winning streak and sit in second place in the Top 14 table. That is before hosting Gloucester the following weekend.


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