Leinster set to play Cian Healy against Benetton Treviso this weekend despite ban
IRELAND prop Cian Healy is set to participate in Leinster's RaboDirect PRO12 clash with Benetton Treviso on Saturday despite receiving a three-week ban for stamping.
Healy was suspended by an independent RBS 6 Nations disciplinary committee convened at Heathrow yesterday for an incident involving England's Dan Cole in the first half of Saturday's 12-6 defeat in Dublin.
Under normal circumstances Healy would not have played this weekend, but the hearing chose to defer the ban by one week so that he would miss Ireland's Six Nations matches against Scotland and France.
As it currently stands the suspension runs from midnight on Sunday until March 10, leaving him available against Treviso.
Leinster forwards coach Jonno Gibbes today indicated that the European champions intend to select the 25-year-old loosehead.
"Cian is certainly available. (Leinster coach) Jose Schmidt and (Ireland coach) Declan Kidney have talked about the involvement of Test players this weekend," Gibbes.
"Cian's available and personally I'd be delighted to involve him, he's a really big asset. He will definitely be considered.
"There's are complications for others maybe, but he's available for us. It's a game in the break of the Six Nations and he's under consideration.
"Nothing is surprising when the rugby judiciary is involved. You have to go in with an open mind because you never know what will come out of it."
The development has created a mess for the Six Nations, who are understood to be concerned at the prospect of having the spirit of their ban flouted by the exploitation of a loophole in their decision to defer the punishment.
Ireland have yet to indicate whether they will appeal against the suspension, but Healy risks receiving a lengthier suspension if it fails.