If Leinster needed any further incentive to be on their best behaviour with Romain Poite in next week's Heineken Cup final, they got it yesterday when Sebastien Chabal was suspended for 60 days for criticising French referees.
The 33-year-old, already omitted from France's provisional World Cup squad, received the sanction for having "harmed the greater interests of rugby" after accusing Top 14 referees of bias and describing the French officials as "hopeless".
The suspension means the Racing Metro back-row will miss the Top 14 semi-final on May 28 as well as the final, should Racing make it, on June 4.
Meanwhile, with less than four months to go to kick-off, just half of the available World Cup tickets have been sold. While 919,000 tickets had been sold before the Christchurch earthquake, that number dropped to 790,000 after the cancellation of ticket sales for the seven relocated matches. There are a total of 1.65 million tickets available.
Elsewhere, Munster have signed a four-year deal with Cork Institute of Technology to use the elite training facilities -- including a 625sqm gym area, training pitch and physio treatment rooms -- on its Bishopstown campus.