British and Irish Lions 2013: Cian Healy could be sent home in shame over biting claim

Lions prop faces disciplinary hearing after being cited for offence but must also have scan on ankle injury

Perth

Cian Healy, the British and Irish Lions prop forward widely predicted to mount a fierce challenge for a Test place against the Wallabies in a little over a fortnight's time, saw his hopes and dreams reduced to rubble on two fronts after a soul-destroying spell of rugby against the Australian Super 15 team Western Force.

Healy left the field on a stretcher after suffering a nasty ankle injury, and was then cited for an alleged biting offence. The 25-year-old loose-head specialist from Dublin faces a disciplinary hearing in Brisbane after today's long flight from one side of the country to the other.

Tomorrow, he will have a hospital scan to determine the extent of ligament damage caused when he fell awkwardly in a tackle by the flanker Angus Cottrell. If the hearing goes against him, his tour will be over before the medical results are received.

Even if he is acquitted of the biting charge laid against him by the South African citing commissioner Freek Burger, there is every possibility that he will find himself on an early flight home. Healy's face was a study in agony as he fell to the floor in Cottrell's tackle and the Lions medics were quick to summon reinforcements so the 17st 9lb front-rower could be carried off.

Lions officials were so downbeat about the Irishman's prospects of continuing the tour that they immediately sent word to Argentina to summon the England prop Alex Corbisiero as a replacement. Corbisiero has only just returned from long-term injury, but is highly regarded by Warren Gatland, the head coach of the tour party.

Expected to play for his country against Argentina at altitude in Salta this weekend, the highly skilled Northampton-bound forward now has an opportunity to reach even greater heights.

"We need to get Alex over here as quickly as possible," said Gatland, who wants Corbisiero to join up with the squad before their departure from Brisbane on Sunday and then challenge the experienced Wales prop Gethin Jenkins and the fast-developing England loosehead Mako Vunipola for a Test role.

For his part the England coach, Stuart Lancaster, was in characteristically generous spirits after being told he was losing his most able prop just ahead of the meeting with the Pumas – a team renowned for their front-row expertise. "We're delighted for him," said Lancaster, who is hardly the first man in his position to lose an important player to the Lions. "He goes with our blessing."

Healy is accused of assaulting the Force scrum-half Brett Sheehan, a spiky character who had raised the temperature of the build-up to the fixture by expressing his desire for an "extremely physical game", in the 17th minute of a one-sided contest in which the Lions scored nine tries in their 69-17 victory.

The match was stopped by Glen Jackson, the New Zealand referee, when Sheehan complained of being bitten at a ruck. Jackson consulted the television official, Glenn Newman, but the immediate investigation yielded nothing in the way of hard evidence and no action was taken.

Afterwards, the Western Force hierarchy showed no interest in pursuing the matter. "It's been left on the field and we don't need to talk about it any more," said Michael Foley, the head coach. But Sheehan was asked for a statement by the citing officer, who made his decision some four hours later.

Max Duthie, a lawyer who is travelling with the Lions, was preparing to represent Healy, who will face a minimum ban of three months if found guilty of the offence.

One difficulty with any mitigation plea is the three-week suspension that Healy picked up for stamping on Dan Cole, the England prop and his front-row colleague in the game, during the Six Nations match in Ireland in February.

Meanwhile, the Lions staff were waiting to hear if a second player, the Munster scrum-half Conor Murray, would be cited. Murray was being investigated for a possible stamp on the Western Force centre Ed Stubbs, who, ironically enough, was sent to the sin bin for ball-killing in the same incident.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Phillips Idowu, Stella McCartney and Jessica Ennis
fashionMcCartney to continue designing Team GB Olympics kit until 2016
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game