British and Irish Lions 2013: Cian Healy speaks of relief after being cleared of biting - but he'll be returning home anyway

Injury rules the Ireland prop out of the rest of the tour, with Scotland's Ryan Grant called up as his replacement

Cian Healy today spoke of his relief at being cleared of biting an opponent during the Lions' opening tour match in Australia, yet the Irish prop will be returning home anyway.

Healy had been accused of biting Western Force scrum-half Brett Sheehan on the arm and attended a two-and-half hour disciplinary hearing this morning where judicial officer Nigel Hampton QC found insufficient evidence to support the allegation.

While Healy, 25, has avoided a lengthy ban, his problems are far from over.

The Dubliner suffered ankle ligament damage shortly before half-time during Wednesday's 69-17 victory in Perth and he has now been ruled out of the rest of the tour.

Scottish prop Ryan Grant has been called into the squad as his replacement.

Discussing being cleared of biting, Healey said: "I am very relieved. Naturally, I was very disappointed that there was a citing in the first place.

"I always maintained that nothing happened and that I had done nothing illegal. The opposition player's arm hit me. It was as simple as that. The support I've had from the management and all the lads has been wonderful. I'm glad it's all over."

Andy Irvine, the tourists' manager, described the verdict as "important for the integrity of the entire squad".

On Healy's injury, head coach Warren Gatland said: "Firstly, our thoughts are with Cian.

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

Gatland's side continue their preparations for Australia tomorrow with a match against Queensland Reds, who have twice beaten the Lions on previous tours. It is likely to be the toughest fixture of the trip outside the Test series.

They will have to play them without Welsh prop Gethin Jenkins who has been ruled out due to a calf injury. Mako Vunipola will replace Jenkins in the Lions line-up.

Rob Howley, the Lions attack coach, said his players have been warned of the threat posed by the brilliant outside-half Quade Cooper, who has one last chance of breaking back into Australia's international squad following a major falling-out with the management last year.

"Cooper has a point to prove," Howley said. "He's very intuitive, he has the ability to take the ball to the line and create opportunities for others around him. From Queensland's perspective, you want a player like him with the ball in his hands as much as possible. From our point of view, it's important that we don't give him time. He can have a huge influence on a game."

Sam Warburton will make his Lions debut tomorrow but insists his status as captain is no guarantee of a starting place when the tourists face Australia in the First Test here on June 22.

"The back-row was always going to be one of the strongest positions," said Welshman Warburton. "I first thought, 'Flipping heck, that's strong, look who is not there - Chris Robshaw, Stephen Ferris, if fit, Kelly Brown'. So it was always going to be a tough ask to play for the Lions in the back-row.

"I have to fight as hard as anyone. I was honest with Warren [Gatland] and said what I don't like about captaincy is you don't want to become complacent.

"You want to go to bed the night before wondering if you are going to play. Those feelings are what drive you to be a better player. I would never be complacent. I would never think the Test spot is assured."

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Chelsea are interested in loaning out Romelu Lukaku to Everton again next season
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
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

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series