Cian Healy gets 3-week ban for stamping

Article updated following hearing decision…

Cian Healy, the Ireland loosehead prop forward, has been banned for 3 weeks for stamping on an opponent in the RBS 6 Nations match between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium on Sunday.

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. The Committee allowed the maximum two weeks of mitigation, but, in imposing a suspension of three weeks, recognised that the player would not have played for his province this weekend is that the suspension will end at midnight on Sunday 10 March 2013.

Here is a video of the incident. What do you make of it? Is this a fair sanction?

76 thoughts on “Cian Healy gets 3-week ban for stamping

  1. good im glad that he is going to be disciplined for it the ref should of given him a yellow if he was willing to give a yellow to an english player who was just trying to escape a ruck and identically knocked the ball

  2. It needs to be significant. One or two games won’t cut it, as it was clear that he was deliberately stamping. It wasn’t a case of going for the ball.

    1. completely agree andy, he wasnt going for the ball. in fact, having watched it a couple of times, Murray has his hands on the ball, and he is looking for who to pass to, so Healy was in no way aiding the speed of ball, he just simply saw the leg of Cole (probably the one man than england would REALLY struggle without and also the man opposite healy in the scrum) and he went for it.

      this is so clear cut an act of senseless violence, that is must see a decent length ban.

      also i must give massive credit to all the irish fans. you all seem pretty appalled by this as well, and usually in an instance like this some dies hard fans would come out trying to defend healy, but everyone seems pretty adamant that is was unacceptable, big credit due to you all for that.

  3. the disciplinary system has been a joke recently, so i expect he will get away with a slap on the wrist, maybe even just a talking to if he pleads guilty and “shows remorse”

    have to completely agree with David here, this doesnt even warrant a penalty in the ref’s mind, and yet haskell got a yellow for kicking the ball while trying to get out of a ruck…

    i hope that they do sort the system out, and healy gets a ban, because otherwise its sending out the wrong message. also i think that a lack of action during the game should have some form of bearing on the length of a ban. ie if a player gets away with it and his team go on to win (and he plays a big part in the win) then its a big of a disgrace for the ref to have not done anything.

    i also expect healy to get a ban in terms of matches, and not weeks, because he has a week off anyway!

  4. Has he been cited for the other incident?

    As for the length of the ban, I think the system is designed so a stamp will get X games, which can then be altered (halved?) due to circumstances such as previous record.

    1. i believe he has only been cited for the stamp, however i would like to hope that the other incident is taken into account, as it would act as evidence to suggest A – intent to injury and B – a lack of remorse.

      not too sure what Healy’s past record is like, but i must say, if this was like real court, and a prosecution was present, it would not be hard to prove he is guilty.

      they take so much into account these days (past record, plea of guilty, showing remorse, other influencing factors in the incident) that you should hope they do look at the game as a whole, because more often than not a player will commit more than one cheap shot in a game if they think they can get away with them!

  5. He should get a 5 match ban at least..he could have broken his ankle going in with such force.The ref was incredible in not giving Healy a yellow!

  6. I can’t remember what Hore got for his blatant punch, but Healy is going to say that he was rucking and shouldn’t get much of a ban. But there again he isn’t from NZ so he might get the book thrown at him!

  7. No doubt the “genuine remorse”, “excellent disciplinary record” and absence of a pair between any of those on the panel will come up with some pathetic 2 or 3 week ban. If it is less than 3 games/5 weeks I’ll be disgusted. I hope the incident is also reviewed in the context of the other acts of foul play.

  8. according to IRB sanctions (see here –>

    stamping at the lower end is a 2 week ban.
    the punching would be a 2 week ban also, and kneeing in the back would be 3 weeks. (all lower end numbers)

    if the panel want to truly send a message then they will give healy at least a mid range stamping charge, meaning 5 weeks. this should show they fact that his stamp was pretty vicious in itself, but also act as a punishment for the other acts as well.

  9. I agree that that it was completely cynical and if he’d broken Coles’ ankle then that could have finished Coles’ career. 5 weeks is a medium term ban – which I expect this to get. However no-one mentions when he flew into an ruch later on, went off his feet and punched an England player who was defenceless – right in front of the touch judge – who did nothing. If they added that on , then it should be a long-term ban (i.e. rest of the season).

    As far as Haskell goes, he’s an idiot. He tried to be clever, got caught and quite rightly was yellow carded. Why do we even select him? He gives away so many penalties.

    1. why do we select Haskell?
      Could it be those two turnovers that created tries against Scotland?

    2. For me, Haskells real crime was making such a silly show of protesting his innocence to the ref – that was very poor, and in its way, a far worse “example for the children watching” than Healy’s footwork.

  10. Complete idiot. There’s being aggressive on the pitch and getting into your opposite number, and then there’s this monstrosity.

  11. Personally I think he should be banned for the rest of the tournament. If he thought Murray needed help moving a player to get the ball out, either appeal to the ref (as so many players do anyway), or move Cole’s leg out of the way with his hands. There is no need to stamp on his ankle!
    I also completely disagree with Jeremy Guscott, who at half time said “it looks far worse in slow-mo”. Watch it again Jeremy and you’ll see that if anything watching it in real time you realise how much force he put into the stamp.

    1. After just watching it again it’s apparent that he has two bites at the cherry as well. First he stamps down on Cole’s ankle, which moves his leg out of the way of the ball, and then has another shot at his foot. Cheap shot and cowardly! As Brighty pointed out earlier, we only see him taking a shot at people under a pile of bodies at the bottom of a ruck.

  12. I think some people are getting a little overly passionate about this. It was stupid and dangerous and I’d even say he deliberately targeted the ankle where he would be doing the most damage. However, a lot of people are saying banned for life or the season. That’s for serious high end stuff, we’re talking jumping on repeatedly in the face kind of incident.

    This is a mid level incident and it should serve as a reminder that while use of the boot is permitted you’ve got to do it sensibly. I’d expect 5 or 6 weeks, but Ireland can feel hard done by after the amount of excessive shoeings they suffered against Wales that went unpunished.

    1. Excessive shoeing? Ireland should have had at least 2 yellow cards in the first half too, for killing the ball! Their hooker dived in at the side when Wales were camped under their posts and Wales had a penalty given against them. He finally got a card in the second half, someone must have told the ref. to get it sorted at half time.

      1. You never ever shoe someone in the face. That one got missed but it could have been very serious for Johnny Sexton. You never put your full weight into a stamp and get both feet on your opponent. I don’t care if you’re on the wrong side, that’s excessive.

    2. i have to agree with you here wookie. a season long ban would be ridiculous.

      this is a mid-range offence. even if you added up the other things he did in the game, the max you could get away with giving him would be about 7 weeks, any longer is silly.

      what he did was dangerous and reckless, and he deserves the appropriate length ban. somewhere between 2-5 weeks is the right level.

      mike phillips gets away with this kind of stuff week in week out against everyone, and he is by no means the only scrum half doing it. to all of a sudden say that healy should be banned for the rest of the season is taking it too far. and i say all this as an englishman.

      2-5 weeks is enough. then we let it go.

    3. Finally, a bit of perspective. It is totally correct that Healey should be banned for the rest of the tornament. He was out of line and should accept his ban.

      Mike phillips did repeatedly stamp last week, however, he didnt take a 5m run up and the BBC choose not to offer it in a slow mo. Therefore not allowing John Inverdale to invoke emotions of the parents of children watching. (He does have a great tan for this time of year though).

      Cian Healey lost his cool as Ireland got out done at their own game (i.e slowing down the ball). He will travel to Austrialia and will be a cornerstone, no doubt of a pack of english and Irish.

  13. Very poor and stupid from Healey. Who was the other guy about to stamp on Cole as well just as the vid finished? Was it the number 6? Don’t know who he is but was the standout Irish forward for me.

  14. It was absolutely disgusting!! No place for this in rugby. A ban for the rest of the championship is surely to follow.

  15. Well given that Italy is Ireland’s last game, we can all assume the “independent” citing commissioner will ban him for the rest of the Championship.
    And rightly so, this could have ended the career of one of the best Tightheads in the world. Take into consideration the punches he flew at Farrell (I think it was Farrell) in a ruck ~37 minutes in and I’d give a 7 week ban. Be back by the start of April, let the Lions tour be his redemption.

    1. Tom, i believe that the citing commissioner is not actually the man in charge of the disciplinary hearings, that is usually a judge, tends to be Jeff Blackett if its held in london.

      1. IRB regulation 17.6.2 (d) states that a Citing Commissioner acts independent of the referee and touch judges, and also independently of the judicial officer and disciplinary committee. therefore the citing commissioner has no input into how long healy will be banned for.

  16. He played like an idiot throughout the match – my bigger concern is that aside from a well deserved ban, this is a guy who might be part of the lions front row yet appears to be easily over hyped up. I am all for passion but reckless play like that exemplified Ireland’s lack of focus on playing clinically, calm heads might have seen them win that match.

    Play like that in Oz and we will be down to 14 men pretty sharpish.

  17. dan cole was blatently slowing the ball down with the rasied foot and was in an offside position, further as he was led on the floor he shouldnt have been interfering with play.
    i would give healy a medal for spottign the foul play by cole

    1. So every time McCaw slows ball down he should have his ankle or wrist or neck stamped on? Get a grip, you know nothing about the ethics of rugby or sport in general if you think healeys actions were justified. What a ridiculous response.

      1. I agree cos where would it end I dont agree with this culture of pointing things out to the ref either just let them do their job and keep their minds on the game in hand

    2. Rugby is sufficiently violent that frustrations can be let out against the opposition within the rules in my opinion.

      Have I been frustrated by the refereeing of a breakdown in the past when England have failed to get any quick ball against Ireland? Yes! Would I have wanted to see Dan Cole stamping on people as a result? No!

      Ireland got beaten at their own game. Credit to Lancaster from turning England from a poor breakdown side into an excellent one. Credit to Dan Cole for not getting up and starting a huge punch up, remarkable restraint!

      1. have to entirely agree with James and Matt above.

        Rob, the fact that you are trying to not only justify Healy’s actions, but even suggest that you would reward them is ridiculous.

        the laws of rugby clearly state that a player should not take matters into their own hands, and they especially should not do so in the manner that healy did. the ref gave a penalty against england. but the fact that healy didnt see a card, or even have the penalty reversed was as ridiculous as the act itself.

    3. Are you seriously right in the head, you are congratulating somebody for potentially giving a fellow professional a potentially career ending injury?

      There are people called match officals who are their to call the game, if they miss things then tough its in the game its not up to some petty minded thug to dish out his own brand of retribution!

    4. Stamping has no place in our sport what do you think the thousands of kids watching it will think that stamping is acceptable

    5. No argument whatsoever. As a player, have I used a boot to get tacklers out of the way? Yes. I’m not going to deny that, it’s part of rugby. A healthy scrape to the rump or hip to increase the urgency of the individual rolling away isn’t too bad.

      Now ask the more important question. Have I ever stamped on someone? No. Have I ever targeted a weak spot like the ankle or the head? no.

      The referee has already awarded a penalty for Cole’s position. There is no need for Healy to run in and stamp on the weak ankle of Dan Cole (nor is there a need for Heaslip to jump on him after the ball is out).

      So does Healy get a red card if spotted? hell yes. Do you take the laws into your own hands? No never. Think back to last year. Donnacha Ryan rucks Adam Jones on the floor. This is dangerous and could have led to a penalty. Were you infuriated when Bradley Davies took the law into his own hands and responded with a spear tackle off the ball? I’m sure you were, but by condoning Healy’s actions, you”re condoning what Davies did last year, rendering your comment stupid.

  18. Ha, no ifs or buts. Healey deliberately went for the ankle joint and its obvious to see. He’s gone for two, hopefully five weeks. If you saw a kid do that on a Sunday you’d be horrified.

  19. As a referee for the last 32 years I was dismayed to see both the incident and the referee failing to deal with it in any way whatsoever. Cole was on the wrong side, yes, that does not excuse the attack on an ankle joint by Healy. Just to play devils advocate but arent these two battling out for the same spot in the Lions or am I cynical ?

    1. They play on opposite sides of the scrum peter. May even be front row partners in aus for the lions. It’s such a shame because Healy has made leaps and bounds in his set piece and loose work over the last two years. An awful blemish on his career.

    2. The ball was directly above Coles hip, not sure how is ankle was slowing the ball. I’m all for rucking, but it has to be NEAR the ball, the fact the ball was already off the ground…. 3 weeks is light! couldve ended his career…

      1. Rockymac1 – he’s been punished. Umaga and Mealamu could have ended BOD’s life and they got off scott free. Why are the English still whinning – you got the win didn’t you?

        1. Matt Barry, are you actually serious? Umaga & Mealamu should definitley have got sighted & banned, it was a shocking ‘tackle’.

          But because two kiwis didnt get banned for a ‘clearout’ in a match on the other side of the world, an Irishman cant be banned for trying to break Coles ankle?????

          what planet are you on? beggars belief.

          The fact we won, has got NOTHING to do with it! However it wouldve been easier for us to win if the officials had dealt with it during the match.

        2. Nobody is whining Matt Barry. In case you didn’t read the blog title, we are asked for our opinion on the Healy incident and having read most of the responses, including from unbiased genuine Irish supporters, there seems to be consensus that Healy was out of order. Dont bother bringing up unrelated incidents to justify some pathetic anti-english stance – it’s very boring

  20. Huge sigh of relief seeing he will be back to face Italy: it will be a serious test for his scrummaging and lions credentials.
    Healy usually isn’t that aggressive, and I hope this ban will make him realise the wrongs of his behaviour. Good thing he’ll still get a chance to prove himself before Gatland makes his pick as a lions team without Healy would be a lot weaker in my eyes, especially if the scrum will have to be our attacking platform.

  21. OK so a mid range penalty, that sounds fair. Even recognising that 5 weeks is only 3 games I could accept that.

    A maximum mitigation of 2 weeks, for what I’m not sure, the exemplary conduct for the rest of the match perhaps??

    Wouldn’t you usually miss 3 games with a 3 week ban? But this is in effect a 2 game ban, i.e. below the maximum mitigation??

    I just don’t get it, not just this instance but the ones from the AIs as well. All you can say in this one is missing 2 competitive games is comparable to Hore’s ban so when they do their due diligence they can say “yes we have taken this pathetic stance on discipline before so we are consistent with our own disgraceful standards”

  22. Probably consistent, but still seems a bit weak to me. Does it really put off players trying to seriously injure each other if that is the length of the ban. Not convinced. However there it is. Fortunately Cole wasn’t badly injured.

    Ireland France front row battle will be even tastier, and the Scottish front row have been looking good. I guess if the Irish struggle in the scrum in either game, that may well be the consequential punishment.

  23. James don’t tell Rob off for his comments,I’m still laughing because I can’t believe I actually read that.Mmm,deep.

    1. Rob watch the replay. Murray already had his hands on the ball looking to play it. Coles feet were nowhere near the ball. On the wrong side with the intention of slowing the ball down? Yes like any forward worth his salt if they can get away it, as James says McCaw is the master. Every player would expect to get pulled or rucked out with the ball if they put themselves there, but would not expect to have limbs, heads etc. targeted like Healy did. Ireland were outsmarted by an inexperienced side and frustrations showed through. He should have been cited for the punch in the ruck also. Let’s hope this is a lesson well learned and he concentrates on what he’s good at and shows the discipline he’ll need in Australia when he returns.

  24. I sent an email to a friend in the legal profession about this incident. His reply is interesting.

    My comment – Calum Clark 32 weeks for breaking an opponents arm, Cian Healy 3 weeks for trying but failing to break an opponents ankle. So is it down to whether you succeed or not?

    His reply – In Court we have to work within guidelines whereby the “success” of the assault has a major bearing on the sentence, even though that is often a matter of luck or bad luck, so the QC’s on the Panel are probably following the broad principles of judicial sentencing guidelines. Personally I feel that intent should play the major part in sentencing in Court & with the Panel

    1. Absolutely right. On the street, there is a distinction between assault, ABH and GBH, often (but not always) related to the intended force used.

      However, Cian Healy is a professional and highly experienced rugby player, who could have ended Cole’s career. As such, he should be expected to conduct himself better – especially whilst representing his country. This ban is a joke.

  25. I was expecting the bible to be thrown at Healy and he’s been clipped round the head with a rolled up copy of the Beano.

    Ban’s should not be measured in weeks but games, he should not feature for the three remianing 6 Nations games and also be banned for the same number when he goes back to his club.

    1. nb: he will be banned from club games in between the international fixtures. They acknowledged he would no be playing this weekend anyway so this weekend has been ignored, but
      week 1:
      Ireland vs Scotland
      week 2:
      Leinster vs. Dragons (I think)
      week 3:
      Ireland vs. France

      So he’s effectively getting his 3 match ban under the 3 week ban that he has.

      1. It’s actually just been reported that Leinster might exploit a ‘loophole’ in the law that says he can play this weekend. Apparently he is set to be named in their team to play Treviso, I guess to give him some more game time before he sits out for three weeks. Seems utterly ridiculous that he should be allowed to play the week after the act that got him banned.

  26. He should have been at least yellow-carded….. The game is what it is because of the discipline of the majority of players, regardless of provocation, frustration or any “football type” of behavior. Without self- discipline the game will become something other than that which I enjoy. Get rid of any mindless thuggery, deliberate or not, and ban from the game any player who feels the need to injure his opponents with ‘sneaky’ tactics.
    However, keep up the “good ol’ punchup” where everyone can let off steam and share a few brokennoses…..

    Please, keep the mindless violence off the pitch!

  27. I know this sounds a bit ‘little englander’ but surely the ban for Cian Healy’s stamp would have been double had it been an England player. If you actually look at Cole he has made the ball available and is prone to enable the ball to be played. The Irish SH actually passes easily blind. Calum Clark’s horrible action was actually trying to remove a Leicester player who was lying all over the ball. Healy gets more than TEN TIMES LESS a ban for an act that had the same intent but less competition for ball. I.e violence without a reason. I hate stupid English fans who jeer and turn up on junkets, but even the most one eyed person in the world has got to see that the punishment for Healy is a joke. The Irish and GB had a taste of this when BOD got speared by Umaga. Can we actually get ONE SET OF RULES wherever the perpetrator is from?

    1. Agree that if you look at Clark and Healy suspensions, it doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. What is worse, is that Clark will carry his crime with him for the rest of his career, Healy’s will have been forgotten by next season.

      However I don’t think the nationality of the player made any difference (unless you’re a kiwi! ;-)), so no need to circle the wagons yet.

    2. I agree and disagree in someways.

      I partly think that the offence Callum Clarke commited was heinous and only intended to do damage. I also feel sorry for him. That happens at a lot of breakdowns and he was very unlucky in that the incident caused damage and the difference between 32 weeks and no weeks is the resulting injury.

      What Healy has done is nowhere near that level. For a start, ‘stamping’ is a tentatively legitimate element of the game. He has intentionally gone for the ankle. This could have caused severe injury. The panel has to assess intent to cause injury.

      Callum Clarke has much less to defend himself against the ‘intent’ charge. The arm bar he put on Hawkin’s has no legitimate place in the game. He got frustrated, it boiled over into an assault and it could only be called intention to harm.

      Healy’s incident is a much greyer area. Did he intend to harm Cole? Or was he just trying to get his leg down? Could he have caused damage? yes, there’s the offence but the intent is difficult to prove. They could have handed Healy a longer ban, but there would be no precedent for it and on appeal it would have been cut down anyway.

      1. Good blog xxxwookie. I agree with pretty much everything you say other than it is impossible for us to know what was going through the minds of either Healy or Clark as they committed the acts. I sincerely hope that neither of them was thinking ‘I want to seriously injure with this action’, but of course we will never know. I have seen enough incidents as a player and a referee to know that there are one or two psychopaths playing rugby who set out to hurt others. Thankfully very few and I’m sure neither of the two that we are discussing.

      2. Unfortunately intent is irrelevant in the disciplinary process of rugby union. You can only be punished for a completed act.

        A good example is that a few years ago BOD threw a punch, but the player he threw it at dodged it (great reactions at the time). BOD got away without even a warning from the ref, because he had not connected with his punch. Had he connected, he would have most surely been carded, cited and banned. But there is no place for intent until the act is “successfully” completed. I think this is a major flaw in the disciplinary system.

        With regards to the Irish appeal, by the sounds it’s only because no one thought that Leinster would pick him, therefore the ban was put in place to account for the gap in the 6Ns, but now Leinster want to choose him for their game, Ireland are appealing the start date of the ban, not the actual ban itself. A successful appeal would mean the ban shifts forward, therefore he will miss the Leinster game, but be back for the France game. Big oversight by the disciplinary panel!

        Overall (ignoring the oversight) I think the ban was pretty fair. After all, stamping is a grey area (there is a fine line between stamping and raking) and he did not cause any damage to cole.

        With regards to those mentioning Clark, I am a saints fan, and I can’t even begin to try and justify what Clark did. It was stupid and ended a players season, and the wrenching of arms is not so grey an area.

        All in all, I think the Healy ban is a pretty decent cop (excluding the loophole that Leinster have managed to find).

        1. Stamping has never been legal in the game and anyone who looks at the replay can see there is no intention to ruck. His foot goes straight up and then straight down on Cole’s ankle – which by the way is nowhere near the ball

          What would the ban have been had he broken the ankle and put Cole out for the rest of the year?

  28. Just heard that Ireland are considering appealing his suspension. I really hope for the game that they don’t. What sort of message would that send out. He’s guilty – no doubt. The punishment wasn’t that harsh. He deserves to miss game time, hopefully for what was just a bad case of red mist, but don’t appeal – please.

    1. Would be interesting if they do appeal. When players appeal they can lose their mitigating circumstances which could take his ban up to 5 weeks. As it is, 6 Nations rugby are unhappy with the flouting of a loophole as Leinster try to play him this weekend.

      The phrasing of the whole thing has been a bit farcical. They’ve decided they didn’t want him to play against France, but by foregoing this weekend’s game for Leinster they’ve opened up an opportunity for him to play while suspended They could have given him 1 week of mitigation if they wanted to and avoided the whole nonsense.

      1. Agree that they should have only given the one week.

        However I have always had a feeling that you shouldn’t be rewarded for pleading guilty, but rather punished for pleading innocent if found otherwise. I.e. pleading guilty means you accept the severity and charge of your act. Therefore a 5 week ban should have been in place.

        If you plead innocent and are found guilty, then I think that your ban should be extended.

        Players only plead guilty because they know that the evidence is irrefutable, and so they know that they will get time knocked off the ban.

      2. I hope the loophole is exploited and he does play, this way the Committee will be made to look even more stupid and maybe it will influence their decision making in the future as to whether to reduce a ban.

        Mid range offence = mid range ban, only 3 matches over the 5 week period anyway, problem wouldn’t have existed. Let’s have mitigation applied based on facts (e.g. provocation, conduct in the game, prior conduct) not based on representation at a hearing where the aim is to talk the ban down.

        Does anyone know, is this the same group of people that allowed Hore’s ban to run pre-season for his KO and handed out a 1 week ban to Thompson for a boot on the head?

  29. Professionalism and TV is preventing the law enforcers from being able to pass the sentences that actions like this deserve. Calum Clark would have not that long ago been given a Sine Die band and not been welcomed back into the England fold, as For Healy, he knew what he was doing and this sentence is far too lenient. If this tread of leniency is allowed then our leading Rugby players will become no better role models than professional footballers. 90 days minimum for Healy.

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