Leinster scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park has been cleared to play in Friday's Heineken Champions Cup last-16 second leg against Connacht, after his citing complaint was dismissed.
The Ireland international appeared before an independent disciplinary hearing yesterday, after being cited for an alleged dangerous tackle during the second half of his side's 26-21 first leg win at the Sportsground last Friday night.
Gibson-Park was shown a yellow card at the time by referee Karl Dickson, after his shoulder made contact with the head of his opposite number Kieran Marmion, leaving the Connacht man with a bloody nose.
Having reviewed the incident with his TMO, Dickson downgraded a possible red card to yellow on the basis that there "was not a high degree of danger" in the collision, an opinion the disciplinary hearing agreed with.
"The independent Disciplinary Committee comprising Philippe Cavalieros (France), chair, Yannick Jauzion (France) and Mitchell Read (England), considered video imagery of the incident and heard submissions from Gibson-Park, who did not accept that his act of foul play warranted a red card, from the player's legal representative, Derek Hegarty, from the Leinster Rugby Head of Rugby Operations, Guy Easterby, and from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan.
"While the committee determined that Gibson-Park had committed an act of foul play, it found that his action involved a low degree of force which did not warrant a red card.
"The citing complaint was therefore dismissed and Gibson-Park is free to play," an EPCR statement read.
Connacht head coach Andy Friend also agreed that a yellow card was sufficient for Gibson-Park (above).
Speaking after the game, the Australian said comparisons to the red card shown to his own player Tom Daly in the same fixture two weeks earlier were unfair.
"I thought it was a yellow," the Connacht coach said.
"I think there's so much conjecture around these things at the moment. To me, there was one angle that made it look not good, there was two other angles where you thought there was not much more he can do.
"Now, he definitely hit shoulder on face but I reckon we've got to be careful there's a game. I didn't think there was any intent.
"I didn't think there was any intent in Tom Daly's tackle a few weeks ago [against Leinster]. There was different circumstances. This one had a second defender in there so you can understand a player, Kieran, falling.
"I was OK with it, to be honest, but you just don't know at this stage whether it's going to be play on, yellow card, red card. I thought the right decision was made."
Leinster lead 26-21 on aggregate heading into this Friday evening's second leg at the Aviva Stadium, where the winner will advance to a quarter final away to either Leicester Tigers or Clermont Auvergne.
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