Friday 19 January 2018

Tuitupou ban to force Munster reshuffle

MUNSTER will have to rejig their back-line for Saturday’s crucial HeinekenCup clash with Toulon in Thomond Park after Sam Tuitupou was handed a three-week ban yesterday, WRITES HUGH FARRELLY.

The All Black was cited under law 10.4 for a dangerous tackle on London Irish scrum-half Paul Hodgson during last weekend’s 23-17 defeat in Reading, and an ERC Disciplinary hearing in Dublin decreed that the offence was at the lower end of the scale.

He is free to play again on November 1, ruling him out of the Toulon game and the Magners League matches against Treviso and Ulster.

With fellow centre Lifeimi Mafi serving a seven-week ban for a dangerous tackle on Gordon D’Arcy in the Magners League loss to Leinster and Felix Jones and Ian Dowling out injured, Munster’s back-line resources are now severely stretched.

However, coach Tony McGahan still has a number of options. Paul Warwick could be restored to fullback with Johne Murphy switching to centre or Warwick could play in the centre, while Scott Deasy is also available to slot into midfield.

Meanwhile, Clermont’s Jamie Cudmore will miss theTop14 champions’ Heineken Cup clashes with Leinster in December after being suspended for 10 weeks for stamping on Saracens flanker Jacques Burger last weekend.

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