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Page last updated at 08:34 GMT, Sunday, 13 June 2010 09:34 UK

Ireland's Jamie Heaslip handed five-week kneeing ban

Jamie Heaslip trudges off after being dismissed against New Zealand
Heaslip has been touted as a future captain of Ireland

Jamie Heaslip has been handed a five-week ban for kneeing New Zealand captain Richie McCaw on Saturday.

The number eight, who admitted the offence but denied contacting McCaw's head, was sent off after 15 minutes of Ireland's 66-28 defeat in New Plymouth.

Heaslip, 26, will miss matches against the New Zealand Maori and Australia.

Ireland Under-20 captain Rhys Ruddock has been called up as a replacement while Shane Horgan and Jerry Flannery have also linked up with the squad.

Wing Horgan has also recovered from a stomach complaint while Flannery was also a late arrival in New Zealand because of a calf injury.

Ruddock, who will fly from the Under-20 Championship in Argentina to New Zealand, will provide back-row cover after Heaslip and John Muldoon (broken arm) were ruled out of the remainder of the tour.

Muldoon will undergo surgery on his broken arm in Auckland in the next 24 hours before returning home with Heaslip.

Second row Mick O'Driscoll suffered a back spasm which forced him to leave the field on Saturday but his injury is said to have improved and his fitness will be monitored over the next 48 hours.


McCaw was not injured in the incident involving Heaslip and All Blacks coach Graham Henry said: "That was just a brain explosion by a very good footballer."

Ireland team manager Paul McNaughton said: "To have him red-carded so early in the game was crucial, although not an excuse.

"He feels he's let the guys down. He apologised to the rest of the squad and the team immediately after the game.

"He's never been cited or red-carded in his professional or amateur career, so it is completely out of character.

"The judicial officer came in with a medium-level ruling and they also took into account his being contrite and owning up to it and his attitude at the tribunal itself."

Heaslip's suspension lasts until 17 July and means he will miss next Friday's match against the Maori and the Test against the Walabies on 26 June.

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see also
Heaslip faces ban after red card
12 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand 66-28 Ireland
12 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
International rugby as it happened
12 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union
Kidney pinpoints Ireland mistakes
12 Jun 10 |  Rugby Union

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