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Munster face prop crisis ahead of Northampton clash after latest ban

By Josh Raisey
John Ryan of Munster during the United Rugby Championship match between Munster and Zebre Parma at Virgin Media Park in Cork. (Photo By Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Munster tighthead prop John Ryan will miss their Investec Champions Cup round of 16 meeting against Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens after receiving a three match ban.

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The Ireland prop was yellow carded by referee Andrea Piardi on Saturday for a dangerous clearout of Cardiff hooker Liam Belcher in the United Rugby Championship. It was an infringement that could have easily been a red card on another day, and a disciplinary panel have deemed that to be this case, handing him a six-match suspension which has been halved.

A URC statement read: “The Citing Commissioner in charge reported the Munster Player (John Ryan, No. 18) for an act of foul play in the 59th minute which resulted in a Yellow Card under Law 9.18 – a Player must not lift an opponent off the ground and drop or drive that player so that their head and/or upper body make contact with the ground.

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“The Panel overseeing the disciplinary process Robert Milligan (Chair, SRU), Rod McKenzie (SRU) and Stefan Terblanche (SARU), found that the incident met the Red Card threshold, with entry of low-range warranting a six-game suspension. The Player accepted that he had committed an act of foul play but that it had not warranted a Red Card. However, the Panel reduced the suspension to three games (50% mitigation) due to his good record, apology and exemplary conduct in the hearing which results in a three-game suspension.”

The 35-year-old will now miss Sunday’s meeting against the Gallagher Premiership leaders and URC fixtures against the Bulls and the Lions. However, should Munster win on Saturday, he will miss their Investec Champions Cup quarter-final instead of the Lions match.

With fellow Ireland tighthead Oli Jager out with a knee injury, Graham Rowntree’s propping stocks are running thin ahead of their most important match of the season so far.

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