Leinster have escaped the threat of losing Ian Madigan to a citing for his involvement in the 77th-minute free-for-all that marred the Heineken Cup tie against Harlequins last Saturday night.
Citing Commissioner Stefano Marrama has decided to issue Madigan and Harlequin Danny Care with “warnings,” one level lower than a citing.
Madigan has been warned for “misconduct, while the ball is out of play,” in contravention of Law 10.4 (n).
The centre did appear to take exception to Danny Care throwing the ball into the face of Leinster lock Mike McCarthy which sparked a reaction from Madigan and an all-in, or most-in, bout of pushing and shoving between players.
Care has also been admonished for a transgression of Law 10.4 (l) for retaliation, presumably against McCarthy.
This follows Leinster coach Matt O’Connor description of the melee as “a non-event”.
There is a balance to be struck between the intent, the damage done and the integrity of the sport.
Given how the Christmas period is a time crammed with matches for Leinster – they have three Interpros – and Harlequins, it is natural for the clubs to want to move on without any residual problems like a suspension.
It was difficult to understand Romain Poite’s yellow card ruling on Charlie Matthews’ hands across the eyes of Leinster’s Dominic Ryan.
This has been made even harsher by the decision of the Italian Marrama to cite the Harlequins second row for an act allegedly in contravention of Law 120.4 (m) in an act contrary to good sportsmanship.
It states: “a player must not make contact with the eye(s) or eye area of an opponent.”
If proven guilty, Matthews will have to undergo a sanction anywhere from twelve weeks to a full year.
The Lower-End entry is 12 weeks; the Mid Range between 18-24 weeks and the Top-End up to a year.
Meanwhile, there was consolation for Rhys Ruddock after his broken arm.
It is a clean injury which will not not require surgery. This could reduce his return-to-play timeline to as little as four weeks.
Gordon D’Arcy, Richardt Strauss and Dave Kearney have all been given the green light to contest for selection against Connacht on Friday night.
Ben Te’o (arm) and Fergus McFadden(finger) are a few weeks from fitness and Seá n O’Brien (shoulder) and Cian Healy (hamstring) are back on the pitch.