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Friday, June 07, 2013

Lions prop Cian Healy cleared of biting scrumhalf Brett Sheehan

Cian Healy has been cleared following a disciplinary hearing for an alleged bite on Force scrumhalf Brett Sheehan. It was a miserable night for Healy, as he had to be stretchered off after injuring his ankle. Below is a look at the incident, and the injury.

Feisty Sheehan got the attention of referee Glen Jackson in the first half of the Lions' 69-17 victory over the Western Force on Wednesday. He claimed there had been a bite, so former Saracens flyhalf Jackson called upon the services of the TMO, who couldn't find any evidence.

Sheehan admitted that he wasn't sure if it was deliberate, but indicated that he certainly felt something. Force coach Michael Foley has said that the matter was dealt with on the field, so they didn't lodge a complaint, but the citing officer felt there was a need for a disciplinary hearing.

Judicial Officer, Nigel Hampton QC, found insufficient evidence to support the allegations, clearing Healy of acts contrary to good sportsmanship after a two and a half hour hearing in Brisbane.

"There is no conclusive video evidence of the incident and post-match it was not possible to distinguish any discernible bite marks outside of the 'regular' marks usually found following a Rugby match," Mr Hampton said.

"I cannot find proven on the balance of probabilities that there was a deliberate bite here, and the citing complaint is not upheld."

He did say however that during the tackle Sheehan's arm may have come into contact with Healy's mouth and teeth, but it was an unavoidable situation. Healy is therefore available for selection.

"I am very relieved that the hearing has cleared me of such an allegation. I was naturally very disapointed that there was a citing in the first place," said Healy.

"I always maintained that nothing happened and I had done nothing illegal. The opposition player's arm hit me. It is as simple as that," added the Leinster front rower.

The Ireland prop left the field later in the game after picking up a nasty looking ankle ligament injury. He is still undergoing scans and medical evaluation to determine the severity of the injury. England prop Alex Corbisiero is being flown over from Argentina as cover.

UPDATE: Healy will return home after a scan revealed he has serious ligament damage to his ankle. Scotland prop Ryan Grant is being flown over as cover for Gethin Jenkins, who has a calf strain.

Posted by Rugbydump at 6:25 am | View Comments (36)

Posted in British & Irish Lions 2013, Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 36 comments

rufio June 07, 2013 10:16 am

I know what Sheehans like. Typical halfback. GOBBY, goes after players, likes to sledge, just generally an annoying SOB. But even this is new for him!! He knew EXACTLY what he was doing!!

If anything, Sheehan should of been cited for use of the forearm!! Thats why he probably claimed a bite, so Healy couldnt get in there first & accuse him of a forearm.

Still, nothing in it really. But just generally silly from quite a good player.

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matt June 07, 2013 10:28 am

I used to like Sheehan, in a 'I've watched him a handful of times and generally liked his style' kind of way, but he was an absolute arsehole for almost that entire game. I get that niggling is as much a part of his job as passing, but he was just a dick.
Coupled with the fact that this was no more a bite than Fitzgerald could be accused of attacking Burger's fingers with his eye ball on the last tour, and you have a real little shit on the loose.

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DrG June 07, 2013 2:23 pm

Don't you dare deny that Fitzgerald was an absolute bastard in that incident!!!! I don't think Burgers fingers have ever been the same since!!!!

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Jo June 07, 2013 10:35 am

Hate these alleged incidents. Healy has a good track record bar one incident earlier this year. As soon as this incident was reported on, so many people were calling for his head, saying he was a thug etc etc. Hopefully now we can move on and win the series and hopefully with Cian's involvement. The right decision was reached, would have bitten Sheehan myself , he looks like a right tit the way he carried on on Wednesday.

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ConnachtMan June 07, 2013 10:56 am

Not being biased but I have seen Healy week in and week out and biting is not his style, I cant recall any red cards etc for cheap play ( if anyone has an example then I defer to them) , I hope he recovers in time ot play as he is great in the loose!

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ConnachtMan June 07, 2013 10:56 am

Mind you he did get banned fo rthe leg stamp on Dan Cole!

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DaveSea June 07, 2013 12:15 pm

It was never a bite!! Sheehan does just strike im in the face tho

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gerrymentle June 07, 2013 12:45 pm

What is it about the Aussie media, can't they even tell the difference between a seventeen plus stone prop and Brian O'Driscoll? is it arrogance or what, that they don't bother to do their homework and can't identify northern hemisphere players correctly. It happens all the time down there. You can be sure when Australia tour in this part of the world, most rugby fans and the media know who each player is. Maybe when the Lions win the series, they'll start to remember better though knowing their form they'll probably just moan on how bad their lot are.

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stroudos June 07, 2013 4:40 pm

Hilarious! We had the commentator the other day apologising for mixing up Tuilagi and Vunipoloa, which is a bit more understandable - but Healey and O'Driscoll!?!?

He's also wrong about Healey's reaction, in my opinion - "Brian (sic) didn't seem to blow up about it, he sort of looked and... looked like a nod that there was something there". I don't think so, I think he looked at Sheehan as if to say "what are you on about?"...

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flanker2712 June 07, 2013 5:43 pm

I thought exactly the same at first, but if you watch again, when he starts this particular comment, the replay that has just been shown is not a replay of the incident itself, but a replay of Sheehan whinging to what appears to be a bunch of Lions players, to closest of whom is BOD. I don't think the commentator is referring to Sheehan showing Healy his arm in the immediate aftermath, although by the time he gets his comment out that is the replay being shown again.

I hate it when commentators get names wrong through lack of knowledge/laziness, but I don't think this is the case here.

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DrG June 08, 2013 12:25 pm

Flanker's comment may or may not clear up the Healey-BOD confusion, but Stroudos I totally agree with your interpretation of Healeys reaction, looked like he genuinely thought "what is all this about??"

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Jon June 08, 2013 6:04 am

Jesus, you guys love a good whinge eh?
"Those damn Aussie commentators not knowing the names of players!"

What a load of nonsense. He wasn't referring to the incident in the footage here. After that Sheehan went up to BOD and showed him the marks on his arm too.
These commentators know who the Lions players are. Of course they do.
Besides, if he had gotten a name wrong, would that really have offended you?
Talk about making a mountain out of a molehill.

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Cat June 08, 2013 9:26 am

You're about as intelligent as they come where you're from. The 'Aussie media' is not refering to the Sheehan pushing Healy footage when they mention O'Driscoll. Don't be so arrogant.

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Guy June 07, 2013 1:10 pm

It's a scrumhalf. He will grab any opportunity to screw someone over. I dont't blame him though: it seems to be a genetic thing for scrumhalves (with a few exceptions).

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Reality June 07, 2013 1:44 pm

Should Sheehan not face a hearing for bringing the game into disrepute? From what it seems, he falsely accused Healy of biting and made him go to a disciplinary hearing to defend himself against that accusation. I'd say slandering another player and causing a hearing to be held is deserving of some sort of punishment. Correct me if I'm wrong, but he simply smacks Healy's face with his forearm and then makes up a story about a bite.

And yeah, to all the people that commented the other video saying that Healy was guilty before being tried and before seeing any evidence and that he was obviously a dirty player: shame on you.

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Jon June 08, 2013 6:09 am

Sheehan accused him, but he doesn't cite anyone. Players can't cite other players.
The match review committee looked at it, decided it was worth investigating, and then they considered the case and agreed that it was just an accident and Healey was free to play (if he wasn't injured of course).

Sheehan was wrong. His arm seems to hit Healey in the teeth basically in a ruck. But if you look, Sheehan can't see where his arm is, he probably just felt teeth. He even said in the interview that he wasn't sure if it was an accident, and that it was a shame that Healey was injured.
Hardly a hanging offense.
This whole thing is a storm in a teacup.

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xxxldave June 07, 2013 1:47 pm

I think people are getting the wrong idea about this a little. The verdict wasn't that Healy was found innocent or cleared of all wrong doing, It was that they were unable to find him guilty because of "insufficient evidence". They were unable to prove that Healy did bite Sheehan. That doesn't mean that Healy didn't bite Sheehan. It shows that there is simply not enough evidence to convict him. In my view they made the correct call by letting him off, but either way hes either very lucky or only slightly fortunate... The luck of the Irish...

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PT1985 June 07, 2013 2:58 pm

Stop talking nonsense, luck of the Irish for not getting banned for something he didnt do, the video evidence is as clear as anything. Inocent until proven guilty. It also says in the article that he is cleared of all wrong doing.

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murph June 07, 2013 3:02 pm

I wouldn't even bother trying to be sensible here Dave. The Anglo-Irish victimhood mentality is in full throttle.

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matt June 07, 2013 3:04 pm

The only evidence they seem to have is Sheehan's word, who said himself that he wasn't sure if it was deliberate.
Which is about the only thing in this whole story to make Sheehan look good in my opinion.

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Dazza June 07, 2013 2:15 pm

Shocking this even went to a disciplinary really. Unless they were going to cite Sheehan for attempting to smash Healy in the mouth with his forearm, because I'm sure that's not legal!

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Moo June 07, 2013 2:38 pm

Sorry xxxldave, but Healy has nothing to answer to here. I know they said "insufficient evidence", but they can't really come out and say, "actually Sheehan is a lying s*it". He even pointed at the other side of his forearm after the incident! Cynical in the extreme and a trend I hope does not continue in rugby.

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murph June 07, 2013 3:00 pm

They said insufficient evidence because it was just that: insufficient evidence. If it were cut and dry that Healy had no case to answer they would have thrown it out quickly. Instead, it was a marathon hearing that resulted in an inconclusive verdict.

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murph June 07, 2013 2:53 pm

Here we go again. It's not enough to accept the judiciary decision and move on, the soccer mentality of the NH fans comes out and starts demonising and levelling abuse at Sheehan. Seriously? Go and support soccer.

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Moo June 07, 2013 3:06 pm

Look, to be fair I am not familiar with Sheehan other than this game. My interpretation of the footage is that he was being an ass, play-acting that he was bitten. We all accept the decision, but I think the only reason it went on so long was that there was an accusation. The only 'soccer mentality' going on here was from the Force number 9.

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Reality June 07, 2013 6:46 pm

NH mentality? Eh, what? So you go north of the equator and there's a uniform mentality among rugby fans? I wasn't aware. And I think admonishing someone for threatening someone's participation in the biggest tour of his life with seemingly false accusations is pretty normal.

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hedderball June 07, 2013 10:11 pm

Soccer? Mate you're having a laugh. What Sheehan did was as bad as any soccer player has ever done namely, feign being injured as a result of foul play to get a player sent off or banned. This was probably premeditated as well given this was the eejit that said before the game that he wanted to try to take a couple of guys out before the Tests. By the way Murph, you must be from Darwin, right?

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Eddie-g June 07, 2013 4:11 pm

I actually think fair play all round. First, if I were Sheehan, I'd have done the same at the time. The Ref hasn't seen anything, so won't make a call, it gets referred by the citing officer and is looked at after the match.

No evidence of anything awry, Sheehan accepts it could have been incidental and there's no hard feelings, and everyone moves on.

For me, an example of the system working... wish that were always the case!

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WelshOsprey June 07, 2013 4:57 pm

Stupid as it sounds it looks like the scrum half puts his hand in Healy's mouth for whatever reason

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flanker2712 June 07, 2013 6:06 pm

The strangest thing about the incident for me was that when being pushed and provoked while sat on the ground, Healy did not react at all. Healy is not usually someone to shy away from a bit of push and shove (I am not saying he is a dirty player), especially if provoked. I wonder whether he had done something wrong, knew it and realised that if he reacted, more would be made of the incident.

Another theory is that he did nothing wrong, knew the other player was looking for a reaction and the serious amount of lectures about keeping your discipline the Lions players must have been given following the Hartley incident actually paid off!

Before anyone shoots me down for the first paragraph above, I am a big fan of Healy, both the player and, from what I have seen of interviews with him both in and out of rugby, the man.

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themull June 07, 2013 10:15 pm

More likely due it probably being hammered into the squad all week about not reacting and getting lured into anything which may lead to bans etc...After the amount of press the Farrell incident got all last week I would definitely believe that to be the case..Also Healy is actually quite calm on the pitch (most of the time)..there have been times of course where he has been too "excited" i.e. the stamp on Cole, but other than that i really can't remember him in any sort of trouble or fights during a match..

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Benny June 07, 2013 10:56 pm

A lot of people saying because there was lack of evidence of a bite that Sheehan should be charged. Where were you all in 2005 calling for O'Driscoll to be charged when there was a lack of evidence in the aftermath of him having his shoulder busted. Lack of video evidence doesn't mean it didn't happen

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CEO Front Row Union June 08, 2013 6:23 am

Sheehan's ears are so big that Foxtel uses them as a satellite dishes.

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Cat June 08, 2013 9:19 am

Yeah I'm sure Sheehan made the whole thing up. Well done guys. You caught him. Bravo.

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DrG June 08, 2013 12:32 pm

the video we see is a forearm bash etc... Now forgive me for the assumptions but perhaps the alleged bite happened BEFORE the forearm incident ?!?! Maybe?? And the forearm treatment was as a result of the gnashing received...

If not then I'd have certainly had a nibble at the offending arm which bash me in the mouth!

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Mastersa June 09, 2013 11:02 pm

The ref and third official gave this allegation more than due consideration during game. More, in fact than I have seen before. So why does the citing commissioner need to pick this up at all. Sheehan embarrassed himself but he wasn't alone FB.

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