Feb 13 2013
Ireland prop Cian Healy has been banned until March 10 for stamping on Dan Cole during Sunday's 12-6 RBS 6 Nations defeat by England at the Aviva Stadium.
The 25-year-old will now miss Ireland's matches against Scotland and France after he was handed the ban at a disciplinary meeting in London.
Healy trod on Cole's ankle after an Ireland maul had collapsed in an incident which was missed by referee Jerome Garces, sparking a large brawl. As a result, Healy was cited for the alleged offence, with his ban being confirmed on Wednesday.
An independent disciplinary committee decided that Healy's actions should be categorised as a mid-range offence in terms of seriousness, which carries a sanction of five weeks.
The committee also allowed the maximum two weeks of mitigation, but by handing down a suspension of three weeks, recognised the player would not have played for his province this weekend and the ban will end at midnight on Sunday, March 10.
The recommended suspension for a low-end stamping offence is two weeks, rising to five weeks for a mid-range incident and nine weeks up to a maximum of one year for something more serious.
Television replays clearly showed the Ireland and Leinster forward, who is a leading contender for selection to British and Irish Lions of Australia this summer stamping on Cole.
A statement of the committee's findings said: "The committee, having viewed the footage of the incident and listened to the representations by and on behalf of the player, found that the stamp should be categorised as a mid-range offence in terms of seriousness, which carries a sanction of five weeks."
Healy has the right to appeal the ban, which will come as a fresh blow to Ireland coach Declan Kidney.
The Ireland coach has already lost the services of winger Simon Zebo for up to 10 weeks with a broken foot, while fly-half Jonathan Sexton is struggling with a hamstring injury.