Ireland await Flannery fate

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Ireland hooker Jerry Flannery's participation in the remainder of the RBS 6 Nations championship will be decided at a disciplinary hearing in Dublin tomorrow morning.

Flannery has been charged with an alleged kick on the France winger Alexis Palisson 23 minutes into Ireland's defeat in Paris on Saturday.

If the citing is upheld, the Munster hooker faces a minimum four-week suspension which would rule him out of Ireland's games against England and Wales.

The mid-range sanction for contravening Law 10.4 (c) is eight weeks, with the top end 12 weeks, which can be extended to a possible year.

Flannery was fortunate only to concede a penalty after his wild swing connected with Palisson after the Montauban winger had picked up the ball.

Referee Wayne Barnes consulted his touch judge Stuart Terheege, who believed the challenge to be a "shoulder charge", and so Flannery escaped a potential red card.

But replays showed the severity of an incident which could have caused serious injury to Palisson, who was subsequently forced from the pitch with a dead leg.

If Flannery is suspended, Rory Best of Ulster will take the number two jersey after recovering from neck surgery.

But losing Flannery will be a bitter blow to Ireland as they seek to pick up the pieces of their shattered Grand Slam defence.

England at Twickenham on Saturday week is their next assignment before finishing the tournament against Wales and Scotland.