Tuesday 12 December 2017

Leinster rule out McGrath appeal

Leinster and Ireland's Jack McGrath, pictured, will miss two vital European club matches
Leinster and Ireland's Jack McGrath, pictured, will miss two vital European club matches

Jack McGrath will be free to start Ireland's RBS 6 Nations campaign after Leinster chose not to appeal against his three-week ban for stamping.

McGrath will miss Leinster's crucial European Champions Cup Pool Two matches in the next fortnight, but will then return in time for Ireland's Six Nations opener in Italy.

The 25-year-old should retain his starting berth for Ireland's first Six Nations clash in Rome on February 7, with Cian Healy still battling back from long-term injury.

Leinster said in a statement: "After considering all the options and taking considerable advice, including legal, Leinster Rugby have confirmed that they will not be appealing the decision by the Guinness Pro12 disciplinary committee to suspend Jack McGrath for three weeks, effectively ruling him out of the two Champions Cup Pool Two games this weekend and next.

"The matter is now at an end and Leinster Rugby will be making no further comment."

McGrath was banned for three weeks for stamping in Leinster's 24-11 Pro12 victory over Ulster on January 3.

Leinster could have jeopardised McGrath's early Six Nations participation with an appeal: had the case been thrown out, the 12-cap prop's ban could have been increased.

Any extension of the existing sanction could have left McGrath unavailable for the start of the Six Nations as Ireland aim to defend their 2014 crown.

Leinster sit second in Pool Two of the Champions Cup with two fixtures left to play.

The Dublin province host Castres this weekend before facing Wasps in Coventry in round six.

Harlequins top the group, and Leinster will feel McGrath's absence, especially with fellow loosehead Healy still fighting his way back to fitness.

Press Association

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