Flannery's appeal gamble
IRELAND are gambling on Jerry Flannery being available for the latter end of their Six Nations campaign by appealing his six-week suspension yesterday but the move has implications for Munster if his ban is extended.
The hooker pleaded guilty to kicking France winger Alexis Palisson during Ireland's 33-10 defeat in Paris on February 13 and Declan Kidney's camp are hoping to have the length of the ban reduced when an independent Six Nations appeals committee convenes next week.
However, a cross appeal has been lodged by the Six Nations disciplinary officer, enabling the committee to increase the length of Flannery's suspension if deemed appropriate -- Munster face Northampton in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals on April 10.
The disciplinary panel found Flannery had been reckless but not deliberate in his actions and decided the offence was mid-range in its severity. Flannery's plea and the remorse he showed for Palisson's injury persuaded the panel to rein the suspension back from a potential eight-week ban.
However, it still ended his Six Nations and Ireland believe it should be reduced given the act was, in the words of head coach Kidney, "awkward rather than deliberate".
Rory Best replaces Flannery (pictured above) for this weekend's clash with England with Ireland's final two Six Nations matches on March 13 (against Wales) and March 20 (against Scotland).