Sunday 17 December 2017

Ireland to find out if Stephen Ferris is available for RBS Six Nations clash in Paris

Stephen Ferris, Ireland, reacts after giving away a late penalty against Wales on Sunday. Photo: Sportsfile
Stephen Ferris, Ireland, reacts after giving away a late penalty against Wales on Sunday. Photo: Sportsfile
Stephen Ferris holds his head in his hands after conceding a late penalty and yellow card to set up a Wales' two-point Six Nations victory at Lansdowne Road
Stephen Ferris upends Ian Evans to concede a last minute penalty

IRELAND will discover this afternoon whether Stephen Ferris is available for Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash with France.

Ferris was yesterday cited for a tip-tackle on lock Ian Evans in the final minute of Sunday's 23-21 defeat by Wales at Lansdowne Road.

The low end entry level sanction for the offence is three weeks, though this can be reduced on such grounds as contrition or a clean disciplinary record.

Ireland feel aggrieved by the decision to cite Ferris, who at the time was shown a yellow card and conceded the match-deciding penalty.

Team manager Michael Kearney, who is accompanying Ferris to the hearing, is "hopeful" the 26-year-old Ulster flanker will be cleared.

"Stephen is very disappointed. He's not a player who has been guilty of any form of foul play in his entire career," said Kearney.

"He has played 31 times for Ireland and has never received so much as a yellow card.

"The last yellow card he received was more than two years ago (with Ulster) and he has never once received a yellow card for any form of foul play.

"My view is that it wasn't a foul. I've looked at the footage again.

"Stephen certainly didn't drive the player up and take both feet off the ground.

"The player was never on the horizontal, his left foot remained on the ground for the entire incident.

"We're very disappointed with the card and penalty, but even more disappointed that he's been cited as well.

"He trained this afternoon and he will get on with it. We're hopeful he'll get the right outcome, which is no suspension."

Wales lock Bradley Davies must also appear before the same disciplinary hearing after executing a far more alarming example of the same offence.

Even Wales coach Warren Gatland accepted Davies should have been dismissed for the challenge on replacement Donnacha Ryan, though he was only sent to the sin-bin.

Ireland have reported no injury concerns from their incident-packed Six Nations opener.

Keith Earls has rejoined the camp after his newly-born first child, who was taken ill last week, returned home and should be installed at outside centre against France.

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

Press Association

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