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Page last updated at 11:14 GMT, Sunday, 3 May 2009 12:14 UK

Quinlan Lions place under threat

Alan Quinlan and Luke Fitzgerald
Alan Quinlan is tackled by Luke Fitzgerald in Saturday's game

Alan Quinlan's Lions squad place could be in doubt after TV replays suggested he eye-gouged Leinster's Leo Cullen in Saturday's Heineken Cup semi-final.

Munster flanker Quinlan was a surprise inclusion in the 37-man squad but he faces an anxious wait to see whether he is cited as a result of the incident.

Northampton's Neil Best received an 18-week ban earlier this season for an eye-gouging offence.

The Lions play their first tour match in South Africa on 30 May.

Recent history, with cases involving Best and another Northampton player Dylan Hartley, suggests that, if Quinlan is cited and subsequently found guilty, he could face a suspension that stretches into months.

Hartley was handed a six-month suspension for eye-gouging in April 2007.


Neither Paul O'Connell, the Munster and Lions captain, nor Leinster coach Michael Cheika saw the incident in a ferocious game at Croke Park.

But both provided positive character references for Quinlan.

"Quinny isn't that type of guy," said O'Connell.

"He is a tough player. It is the one thing he hasn't got in his record book. If it looked bad, I am sure there was nothing in it."

After watching his side book their first Heineken Cup final appearance with a 25-6 victory, Cheika added: "Quinlan is a good operator and a good guy and I have a lot of respect for him.

"He is a hard guy. That is the battle. Between Munster and Leinster it is a war and you have to be as aggressive as you possibly can. I can't see him doing it."

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see also
We owed Munster one - O'Driscoll
02 May 09 |  Rugby Union
Leinster 25-6 Munster
02 May 09 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup as it happened
02 May 09 |  Rugby Union
Heineken Cup 2008/9
17 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
Lions ponder O'Leary replacement
27 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union
Leinster wary of Munster threat
12 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union
Munster 43-9 Ospreys
12 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union
Harlequins 5-6 Leinster
12 Apr 09 |  Rugby Union
European rugby archive
16 Aug 06 |  Rugby Union

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