Thursday 23 November 2017

Injury ends Healy's Lions dream just hours after bite vindication

Leinster prop to be replaced by Ryan Grant as ankle ligament damage ends his Lions tour

Cian Healy arrives for the hearing into allegations of biting at the Hilton Hotel in Brisbane, Australia.
Cian Healy arrives for the hearing into allegations of biting at the Hilton Hotel in Brisbane, Australia.
Cian Healy arrives for the hearing into allegations of biting at the Hilton Hotel in Brisbane, Australia.
Cian Healy arrives for the hearing into allegations of biting at the Hilton Hotel in Brisbane, Australia.
Cian Healy of the Lions is treated for a leg injury

Conor George in Brisbane

CIAN HEALY’S Lions Tour is over after a scan confirmed he has suffered extensive ankle ligament damage.

The Ireland and Leinster prop will remain with the squad for a few days before returning home.

The devastating news came just hours after Healy was exonerated of the bogus allegation of biting Queensland Reds scrum-half Brett Sheehan.

Hours before confirmation of the seriousness of Healy’s injury the loose-head prop forward had expressed his delight at the result of the Citing hearing – “I am very relieved that the hearing has cleared me of such an allegation,” Healy said yesterday morning.

How the Citing Commissioner Freek Burger decided Healy had a case to answer remains a mystery. During the game the TMO stated clearly that he saw “no evidence of that” when the match referee asked him to review the incident.

Burger had access to no extra footage but after requesting a statement from Force player Sheehan he issued the citing.

Healy didn’t comment until after the result but given his pristine reputation it was always likely he would be found innocent.

“I always maintained that nothing happened and that I had done nothing illegal. The opposition player’s arm hit me. It is as simple as that.”

Having his tour come to an end in such tragic circumstances is devastating for the 25 year old. He had been tipped to be the starting Test loose-head prop and was playing very well in the game against the Force until his injury.

On Healy's injury, head coach Warren Gatland said: "Firstly, our thoughts are with Cian.

"It has been a day of mixed emotions for him after being quite rightly being cleared of foul play but then the scan revealing the extent of the damage to his ankle. He has made a big contribution on and off the field in the last two weeks and we wish him well in his recovery."

Warren Gatland has called up Scotland’s Ryan Grant in his stead.

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