IRFU to argue Munster man was concussed before 'clumsy' Paris incident
Banned Irish hooker Jerry Flannery has claimed that he took a "bang on the head" prior to the reckless lunge on French winger Alexis Palisson during Ireland's defeat to France two weeks ago.
Flannery admitted at the original hearing that he deserved a red card for the offence but IRFU legal bigwigs are appealing the length of the ban, potentially by arguing that the Munster man was concussed to some degree immediately prior to the event.
Yesterday, Six Nations disciplinary chiefs announced the appeal hearing against Flannery's six-week ban will be held in London next Wednesday.
"I was disappointed with what happened," said Flannery yesterday in Limerick. "At the time, I didn't think much of it. When I watched it on the slow motion it looked a lot worse than I thought it was.
"It was something that wasn't a positive action for the team. I was disappointed. It was my responsibility. Afterwards, when I saw it, it looked really clumsy.
"Somebody said 'did you get a bang on the head'. I said I did. But I couldn't remember exactly when it was. When I looked back, it was 90 seconds beforehand."
Next Wednesday's appeal committee will be chaired by Jeff Blackett (England) assisted by Marco Cordelli (Italy) and Douglas Hunter (Scotland).
The original disciplinary panel found Flannery had been reckless but not deliberate and decided the offence was mid-range in its severity.
Flannery's plea and the remorse he showed for Palisson's injury -- the wing had to leave the pitch with a dead leg -- persuaded the panel to cut the ban from a potential eight weeks.
When the IRFU announced their appeal, the Six Nations countered with their own appeal and Flannery could miss out on Munster's Heineken Cup quarter-final against Northampton as the ban could be lengthened if not either maintained or shortened.
Meanwhile, Ireland defence coach Les Kiss has declared that the Grand Slam holders will be on their guard against illegal blocking tactics from the English midfield in Twickenham tomorrow.
As Ireland flew into the Chiswick base last night, Kiss fired a shot across the bows of Martin Johnson's unbeaten Six Nations side.
"The way they use Riki Flutey and Matthew Tait is quite astute," said Kiss, whose side's defensive system "fell asunder" in Paris, according to England World Cup winner Will Greenwood.
"When you study it, they have some real subtle lines, what you might suggest are sometimes illegal blocking lines that come into play and take defenders out. So we're going to have to work around some strategies in that area for sure."