Date set for Flannery’s appeal on six-week ban

Ireland hooker Jerry Flannery’s appeal against a six-week ban that threatens to rule him out of the rest of the Six Nations will be heard in London next Wednesday, officials announced Thursday.

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 said Flannery’s case would be heard by an independent appeal committee chaired by Judge Jeff Blackett, the disciplinary chief of England’s Rugby Football Union.

Blackett will be assisted by Italy’s Marco Cordelli and Douglas Hunter of Scotland.

As Flannery confirmed his decision to challenge his ban, the Six Nations disciplinary officer launched a cross-appeal, raising the prospect of an extension if the hooker’s challenge to the suspension fails.

Whatever happens, Flannery has already been ruled out of Ireland’s match 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.

Flannery did well 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.

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

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