Saturday 16 December 2017

Ireland confident cited Ferris will be cleared to face French

Stephen Ferris
Stephen Ferris

Hugh Farrelly

IRELAND do not believe Stephen Ferris should have been penalised, sin-binned or cited for his tackle on Ian Evans in the defeat by Wales last weekend and are hopeful he will be cleared to play against France this weekend.

The flanker was cited under IRB Law 10.4 (j) relating to tip tackles, as was Wales second-row Bradley Davies for his hit on Donnacha Ryan, which his coach Warren Gatland believed merited a red card rather than yellow.

Both players are due to appear before a disciplinary committee in London today and while Davies could face a heavy suspension for what was clearly a dangerous tackle, Ireland believe Ferris should be exonerated.

"It wasn't a foul," said team manager Mick Kearney. "I looked at the footage again and Stephen certainly didn't drive the player up and take both feet off the ground.

"We're very disappointed, first of all with the yellow card and the penalty, but we're even more disappointed he has been cited as well. We're hopeful we are going to get the right outcome."

If Ferris is ruled out of this weekend's trip to Paris, head coach Declan Kidney has the option of starting the in-form Ryan at blindside flanker or bringing in his Munster colleague Peter O'Mahony for his first cap.

Leinster flanker Shane Jennings is not expected to come into the equation -- Kearney confirmed that he had not been added to the squad.

Keith Earls, who missed the Wales match after his newborn daughter fell ill, rejoined the Ireland camp yesterday.

"Keith is back with us and everything is well with his newborn baby, which is great news," said Kearney.

There was further good news for Earls when it was confirmed that he and Denis Leamy have signed contracts to keep them with Munster until 2014.

France have made four changes to their side after their opening win over Italy, including the return of Imanol Harinordoquy to the back-row in place of Julien Bonnaire.

Meanwhile, with Ulster yesterday confirming that Brian McLaughlin will not continue as head coach next season, New Zealand World Cup winner and former Italy and Japan coach John Kirwan has declared his interest in taking over at Ravenhill.

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