Ospreys face cup complaints
Club and Byrne to face hearing over the '16th-man fiasco'
Last Updated: 27/01/10 1:54pm
Byrne: Will face independent disciplinary committee
The Ospreys will appear before an independent disciplinary committee on Friday following the 16th-man fiasco in their Heineken Cup win over Leicester last weekend.
ERC's disciplinary officer Roger O'Connor has filed misconduct complaints against both the Ospreys and their full-back Lee Byrne after looking into the incident.
The Ospreys fielded 16 men during a 50-second spell late on in the match - with Byrne returning to action at the Liberty Stadium from the blood bin while his replacement Sonny Parker was still on the pitch.
In chaotic scenes, referee Alan Lewis was seemingly unaware he had returned and berated an Ospreys touchline official.
Lewis should have awarded Leicester a penalty once Byrne's reappearance became evident, but it is understood he might have been told by an unnamed Ospreys player that Leicester also had 16 players on the field.
Leicester also complained that Byrne played a key role in thwarting an attack in that period - with the 17-12 defeat costing the Tigers a place in the last eight.
Club chief executive Peter Wheeler and chairman Peter Tom both confirmed within an hour of the game finishing that a complaint had been made.
Tom was also due to write directly to ERC chairman Jean-Pierre Lux, while the Tigers have hired a team of specialist sports lawyers to head up their protest.
The Ospreys and Byrne will now appear before the committee chaired by Pat Barriscale, and also including Jean-Noel Couraud and Mark McParland.
The development also poses a potential selection headache for Wales coach Warren Gatland just 10 days before his team's Six Nations opener against England at Twickenham.
Lions full-back Byrne has recently returned to fitness after missing the entire autumn Test series through injury.
But there is now the possibility he could be banned, while the Ospreys will be left facing a possible fine or even a points deduction.
The victory enabled them to book a quarter-final place as one of two best pool runners-up, finishing behind Clermont Auvergne, but two points above Leicester.
In a statement, ERC said: "ERC disciplinary officer Roger O'Connor has now completed his investigation into the allegation the Ospreys had 16 players on the pitch during the second-half of the Heineken Cup match between the Ospreys and Leicester.
"As part of his investigation, he reviewed statements from the Ospreys, Leicester and the match officials, and also reviewed footage of the incident.
"Following his investigation, the disciplinary officer has made misconduct complaints against Ospreys full-back Lee Byrne and the Ospreys club.
"The independent disciplinary officer appointed to hear the case in Dublin on Friday will be chaired by Pat Barriscale (Ireland), and also include Jean-Noel Cournaud (France) and Mark McParland (Ireland)."