Healy cleared of bite but injury ends Li

June 10 [Mon], 2013, 11:57
By Nick Mulvenney

BRISBANE (Reuters) - British and Irish Lions prop Cian Healy was cleared of biting a Western Force player on Friday but the Irishman's tour was later brought to an end by an ankle injury sustained in the same match.

In another blow to the tourists, Wales prop Gethin Jenkins was forced out of Saturday's match against the Queensland Reds by the recurrence of a calf injury which has kept him out of action for the first two matches of his third Lions tour.

Mako Vunipola replaces Jenkins in the starting side with his England team mate Dan Coles moving up to the bench, while Ryan Grant will join the Lions squad from Scotland's tour of South Africa.

"Firstly, our thoughts are with Cian," Lions coach Warren Gatland said in a news release.

"It has been a day of mixed emotions for him after 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."

The Lions had already called up prop Alex Corbisiero from England's tour of South America for Healy but the injury to Jenkins has further depleted stocks in the front row.

"Gethin has trained all week but he felt some tightness in his calf today so it's right not to play him," Gatland added.

"We will assess him over the next 24-48 hours but Mako has done well in the last two games and this is another chance for him to step up.

"Given Cian's injury we have decided to bring Ryan in. He has played well in the RaboDirect Pro 12 this season and for Scotland in the Six Nations and we look forward to him and Alex Corbisiero arriving tomorrow."

INSUFFICIENT EVIDENCE

Loosehead Healy will return to Ireland after a scan revealed "significant ligament damage" to his ankle.

Healy had faced a disciplinary hearing in Brisbane on Friday after being cited in the wake of Force scrumhalf Brett Sheehan's complaint that he had been bitten in the first half of the Lions' 69-17 victory in Perth on Wednesday.

Judicial officer Nigel Hampton found insufficient evidence to support the allegations, the Australian Rugby Union said in a statement.

"I cannot find proven on the balance of probabilities that there was a deliberate bite here, and the citing complaint is not upheld," Hampton said.

Healy was relieved at the verdict but unhappy he had been forced to go through the disciplinary procedure.

"I am very relieved that the hearing has cleared me of such an allegation. I was naturally very disappointed that there was a citing in the first place," he said in a Lions statement.

"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."

The Lions face the Wallabies in the first of three tests back in Brisbane on June 22.



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