Ferris escapes punishment
Ireland forward available for clash with France
Last Updated: 08/02/12 10:23pm
Stephen Ferris: Will face no further action for tackle on Evans
Ireland flanker Stephen Ferris has escaped a ban after being cleared of a tip-tackle on Wales lock Ian Evans.
Ferris faced a hearing in London on Wednesday after being cited for the challenge on Evans, which occurred in the final minute of Ireland's 23-21 defeat at the Aviva Stadium.
Following analysis of the video evidence and consideration of the explanation for the tackle, the three-man independent Six Nations disciplinary committee chose not to uphold the citing.
Ferris was given a yellow card for by referee Wayne Barnes for the tackle but will face no further action and will be available for Ireland's clash with France on Saturday.
Ferris reacted to the decision on Twitter by saying: "Thank goodness that is all over. Happy man."
But Ireland's sense of grievance over the manner of their defeat will only have intensified, after manager Michael Kearney revealed the hearing felt Ferris' tackle did not justify the penalty that Leigh Halfpenny landed to win the game.
"We are delighted that Stephen has been totally exonerated of any wrongdoing by the disciplinary panel and that he is now available for selection against France," Kearney said.
"While we understand and fully support the stance to stamp out dangerous tackles in the game to make it safe at all levels, the disciplinary panel itself felt that the decision to award a penalty was incorrect and we also felt that it was a fair and legitimate tackle by Stephen.
"He is a hard and fair player and I think that his previous disciplinary record supports why we felt so strongly about his defence.
"The focus now for Stephen and the rest of the squad is to prepare for the game against France this weekend."