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RugbyU: Ireland's Healy gets three-week stamping ban

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Ireland's Cian Healy will miss the Six Nations matches against Scotland and France after receiving a three-week ban for stamping on England's Dan Cole during last weekend's defeat in Dublin.

After Sunday's 12-6 loss at Lansdowne Road, the prop forward was cited and he was suspended by a disciplinary committee in London on Wednesday until March 10.

Tempers flared in the 14th minute of England's victory on Sunday when Healy used his boot on rival front row Cole's ankle at a ruck formed following a collapsed maul, sparking a mass brawl.

Match referee Jerome Garces of France took no action at the time, but Healy was cited by Italian citing commissioner Alberto Recadini.

Wednesday's disciplinary hearing decided Healy's actions should be categorised as a mid-range offence in terms of seriousness.

In handing down a suspension of three weeks, they recognised Healy would not have played for provincial side Leinster this weekend.

Healy, a candidate for the British and Irish Lions tour of Australia later this year, always looked set for a ban after television replays clearly showed him stamping on Cole.

A statement of the committee's findings said: "The committee, having viewed the footage of the incident and listened to the representations by and on behalf of the player, found that the stamp should be categorised as a mid-range offence in terms of seriousness, which carries a sanction of five weeks."

Healy will now miss the matches away to Scotland (February 24) and at home to France (March 9) but will be available for Ireland's tournament finale against Italy in Rome on March 16.

His absence will come as a fresh blow to Ireland coach Declan Kidney, already struggling to cope with a lengthy injury following the England match.

Ireland wing Simon Zebo is out of the tournament after breaking his foot on Sunday while fly-half Jonathan Sexton is doubtful for Scotland after limping off with a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile star centre Brian O'Driscoll, who played on through the pain of an ankle injury against England, is one of several players battling to be fit for the trip to Murrayfield.

England, the only side to win both their opening two matches, currently top the Six Nations table while Ireland are one of four sides on two points.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130213/rugbyu-irelands-healy-gets-three-week-stamping-ban-0