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Last Updated: Monday, 20 October, 2003, 08:13 GMT 09:13 UK
O'Connell escapes ban
Ireland's Paul O'Connell will escape any ban

Ireland lock Paul O'Connell will not face any action over the stamping allegations which erupted after Sunday's win over Namibia.

Namibia coach Dave Waterston referred the Irish lock to the match citing commissioner Douglas Hunter, claiming the Munsterman had trampled on Archie Graham.

O'Connell was penalised by referee Andrew Cole after the touch judge spotted the offence but a yellow card was not shown.

But Hunter has decided O'Connell should not face disciplinary action.

A Rugby World Cup statement read: "Having had the opportunity to view the incident from all the available angles, the citing commissioner has, in this instance, decided that the threshold test as to whether or not the offence warranted a sending off was not reached.

"As a consequence, no player involved in the incident will be cited and no further action will be taken."

I do not understand how the Namibians think Paul could have seen where he was putting his feet
Eddie O'Sullivan
If the lock had been found guilty, he would have likely faced a one or two-match ban.

That would have left Ireland with a major problem for Sunday's crucial match with Argentina as fellow lock Gary Longwell has not trained for the past two weeks because of a calf problem.

The citing commissioner judged that the Namibian was dragging down the driving maul during the incident.

It was ruled that O'Connell was facing backwards and had not intentionally stamped on Graham.

The commissioner felt that Graham was illegally dragging O'Connell by the ankle and that the Irishman had stamped down in an effort to get rid of the offending hand.

Namibian coach Dave Waterston described the incident as "totally unsavoury".

However, Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan was always confident that O'Connell would be cleared.

"Both the referee and touch-judge saw it and decided it was worth a penalty only," said O'Sullivan.

"If Paul had received a yellow card it might have been different.

"I do not understand how the Namibians think Paul could have seen where he was putting his feet.

"He had his back to the play and was being driven forward. I was pretty worried he was going to fall over the lad, which could have been quite nasty."

Links to more Ireland stories


Ireland ease past Namibia
19 Oct 03  |  Rugby World Cup


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