Cormac Byrne: Healy could be the victim of poor timing at hearing
CIAN Healy could be the victim of poor timing with the IRB no doubt keeping a close eye on how the Six Nations independent disciplinary hearing deal with the Irish prop.
The IRB was far from pleased during the autumn internationals when New Zealand’s Adam Thomson got off with a one-week ban for stamping on the head of Scotland flanker Alasdair Strokosch, a hearing that was handled by a Six Nations committee.
The leniency of the ban triggered widespread condemnation in the rugby world and led the International Rugby Board to review to their disciplinary process.
The chairman of the Six Nations committee, Jean Noel Courand, insisted that Thomson’s foul play was at the lower end of the scale of IRB sanctions and that the original ban of two weeks was reduced to one on account of his good conduct at the hearing.
A lot of outrage came from underage coaches who were extremely concerned over the precedent the lenient ban set.
On appeal from the IRB the ban was extended by a week to two weeks.
There is very little difference between the severity of Healy’s stamp when compared to Thomson’s and he has a comparably good disciplinary record going into the hearing as Thomson had but Rugby’s stance towards these type of offences has hardened and Healy and Ireland may pay the price.
The fact that the Scottish reaction to the incident involving Thomson was a lot more subdued than the English players on Sunday shouldn’t be a factor.
It will be very interesting to see the difference, if there is any, in the punishment dished out.