Heaslip handed a five-week ban
June 13, 2010
Ireland's Jamie Heaslip has been handed a five-week ban for kneeing All Blacks skiper Richie McCaw © Getty Images
Jamie Heaslip's Australasian tour is over after he was handed a five-week ban for striking with the knee.
The Irish No.8 was sent off 15 minutes into yesterday's 66-28 loss to New Zealand in New Plymouth for twice kneeing All Blacks captain Richie McCaw at a ruck. Heaslip faced an International Rugby Board judiciary today where he learned his fate from IRB judicial officer Michael Cashman.
His five-week ban is on the mid-range of the scale and rules him out of all rugby up to and including July 17. The reality is the Leinster man will miss just two games - Friday's match against the New Zealand Maori in Rotorua and the following weekend's Test against Australia.
Ireland team manager Paul McNaughton said Heaslip, who admitted the offence but denied making contact with McCaw's head, got a fair hearing. Cashman determined the first strike was to the head.
"To have him red-carded so early in the game was crucial, although not an excuse. We're disappointed about that," said McNaughton. "But we went to the hearing and Jamie put his hand up in terms of the offence and we were happy with the way the judicial inquiry went."
"(Jamie) is very disappointed his tour is over. He's disappointed about the game and he's disappointed that he can't participate in the next two games, especially the game against Australia. He feels he's let the guys down as well in relation to the game. In fact, he apologised to the rest of the squad and the team immediately after the game.
McNaughton also insisted the 26-year-old's actions were totally out of character. "He's never been cited or red-carded in his professional or amateur career, so it is completely out of character," he added. "The judicial officer came in with a medium-level ruling and they also took into account his being contrite and owning up to it and his attitude at the tribunal itself."
Ireland coach Joe Schmidt won the tactical battle and set his team on course for a shot at the Grand Slam. Tom Hamilton reports from Dublin
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