Flannery to appeal six-week ban

Ireland hooker Jerry Flannery is to appeal against a six-week ban that rules him out of the remainder of the Six Nations, it was announced on Wednesday.

Munster front row Flannery was banned after being cited for kicking the legs of France wing Alexis Palisson during defending grand slam champions Ireland’s 33-10 loss in Paris on February 13.

A Six Nations statement issued Wednesday said Flannery’s case would be heard next week before an independent appeal committee.

It added the Six Nations disciplinary officer had launched a cross-appeal, raising the prospect that Flannery’s ban could be extended if his challenge to the suspension fails.

Whatever happens, the hearing will come too late for Flannery to play against England at Twickenham on Saturday.

But Ireland will hope to have him back for their two subsequent Six Nations matches, both in Dublin, against Wales on March 13 and Scotland on March 20.

Many observers thought Flannery lucky to stay on the Stade de France pitch after avoiding both a yellow and a red card from English referee Wayne Barnes, who simply awarded France a penalty after the front row’s wild kick at Brive wing Palisson, who had picked up a loose ball.

And Flannery himself admitted at his original hearing last week he should have been sent-off.

However, Barnes consulted touch judge Stuart Terheege who advised his compatriot he thought the challenge was a “shoulder charge”, hence the referee’s decision to only punish Ireland with a penalty.

Ulster hooker Rory Best has replaced Flannery in the team to play England.

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