Saturday 19 October 2019

Boost for Ireland as Ryan Baird is cleared to play against Italy in World Cup crunch

Ryan Baird of Ireland. Photo: Florencia Tan Jun/Sportsfile
Ryan Baird of Ireland. Photo: Florencia Tan Jun/Sportsfile
Cian Tracey

Cian Tracey

The Ireland U-20s have been handed a major boost ahead of tomorrow's crunch final World Cup pool clash against Italy as Ryan Baird has been cleared to play.

The talented lock was facing the prospect of being suspended for the game following his red card in the defeat to Australia last weekend, but having faced a disciplinary hearing in Argentina, no further punishment was handed down.

Baird was given his marching orders during the first half for what was deemed to have been a high tackle.

The news will be welcomed by an Ireland squad, which is already severely depleted due to injuries, with some suggestion that at least two more key players have been ruled out of the tournament with knocks.

A full squad update is due today when the Ireland team to face Italy will be named. Noel McNamara's young side need a convincing bonus point win tomorrow, to have any hope of advancing to the semi-final.

With regard to Baird's disciplinary decision, a statement from World Rugby, read:

"Ireland second-row Ryan Baird appeared before an independent World Rugby Disciplinary Committee chaired by José Luis Rolandi (Argentina) along with Stefan Terblanche (former South African player) and Valeriu Toma (former Romanian referee) in Rosario on 10 June, 2019 following the red card issued by referee Christopher Ridley in Ireland’s match against Australia in the World Rugby U20 Championship on 8 June, 2019 in Santa Fe, Argentina, for a high tackle on Australia’s fly-half Will Harrison in breach of Law 9.13.

"The Committee received evidence from Baird, Harrison, the Australian team doctor and the referee as well as a presentation by the player and his team management.

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"The Disciplinary Committee found that on detailed analysis there had not been direct contact between Baird's arm and Harrison's head and that Baird's tackle had slipped up from the shoulder. Applying the World Rugby Decision Making Framework for High Tackles elected to impose no further sanction."

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