Thursday, January 28, 2010

Wales sweats over Lee Byrne ban for England game

WALES are waiting to see if Lee Byrne will be banned for the Six Nations rugby opener with England after the Lions full-back was hit with a misconduct charge.

Byrne and the Ospreys will appear before a European Rugby Cup Ltd disciplinary hearing in Dublin tomorrow to answer Leicester complaints following the weekend’s 16th man fiasco at the Liberty Stadium.

The English giants upped the ante in the big Heineken Cup row by revealing they have appointed Manchester United’s lawyers to deal with their case and their demand for a replay.

Leading sports law specialists Brabners Chaffe Street, who are headed up by famed Old Trafford director Maurice Watkins, have been brought on board as a result of their expertise in dealing with a number of high profile cases down the years. Among disciplinary hearings Watkins has fought are those involving Eric Cantona and his infamous kung-fu kick, Roy Keane over controversial comments made in his autobiography and Swansea City mascot Cyril the Swan, who was charged by the FA of Wales for entering the pitch without authority.

Watkins’ company have also acted at the highest level for the Professional Rugby Players’ Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Games Council for England.

Byrne, who appeared briefly as a 16th Ospreys player on the pitch during his team’s 17-12 victory over Leicester, was informed yesterday he must attend the disciplinary hearing in Ireland.

It spells potentially bad news for Wales coach Warren Gatland, with the mouth-watering Six Nations opener with England just nine days away.

There is a possibility Byrne could be banned from the Twickenham showdown and further Six Nations matches.

Gatland is desperate to get his first choice full-back back in his starting XV after Byrne missed the entire autumn campaign with injury.

The Ospreys, who have also been charged with misconduct, will be left sweating on a possible fine, or worse – a points deduction.

“There is a potential for a conflict of interest if there is anything less than a full, open and thorough investigation and hearing of the matter.”

“A fine would not do it as far as we are concerned. The only fair thing is for the game to be replayed.”

For more informations visit on

Six Nations Hospitality

England V Ireland Hospitality

Italy V England Hospitality

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