England centre Abbott cited for dangerous tackle

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The Independent Online

Stuart Abbott, the England centre, has been cited for an alleged dangerous tackle on London Irish scrum-half Paul Hodgson at Twickenham last Saturday.

The Harlequins centre was shown a yellow card at the time and the Exiles were awarded a penalty, but the severity of the tackle was underlined when the referee, David Rose, was overheard on the "Reflink" explaining to the captain Paul Volley: "He was very close to a spear."

Abbott will appear before a disciplinary hearing in London next Tuesday following a report to the Rugby Football Union by Peter Larter, the independent citing officer.

In addition to the Twickenham double-header, there was a second citing, against the Northampton scrum-half Johnny Howard. He has been cited for an alleged stamp against Newcastle last weekend.

Howard was penalised, but not shown a yellow or red card, for a stamp on Hall Charlton, but there was also the suspicion of illegal footwork by the same player at the same ruck on Jamie Noon.

Howard, who had already been suspended for two weeks by Northampton on Tuesday, will appear at a disciplinary hearing in London on Monday.

Saints, meanwhile, yesterday added a promising Rugby League half back, Stephen Myler, to their academy ranks.

Myler, 22, has an impressive pedigree in the 13-a-side code with great uncle Frank having played for Great Britain and Widnes, father John played for Widnes between 1976 and 1988, while uncle Tony coached Warrington and St Helens in the early years of Super League.

Leicester have been hit by an injury to the Ireland international Geordan Murphy. The fullback-cum-winger has suffered what is believed to be a minor knee injury and he is expected to be out for a couple of weeks.

The tussle between the Ospreys and Waikato for the services of the All Black back-row forward Jono Gibbes continues. The Welsh region has involved the WRU in the hope that it can be proved that their contract with the player, signed on 10 April, can be proved to have precedence over a two-year agreement between Gibbes and the New Zealand RFU which was made yesterday.