Banahan in line to replace Tindall
Matt Banahan is in pole position to replace England captain Mike Tindall for Saturday's Grand Slam showdown with Ireland after avoiding disciplinary action.
The official citing officer for England's 22-16 victory over Scotland concluded Banahan had no case to answer for the clash which led to Kelly Brown being stretchered off. Banahan had always denied leading with the forearm as he ran into Brown's attempted tackle, shortly after coming off the bench at Twickenham.
The 6ft 7in Bath giant is now the leading candidate to fill Tindall's boots at outside centre against Ireland, should the England captain be ruled out with ankle ligament damage.
There were no positive signals emanating from the England medics on Monday, who referred Tindall to an ankle specialist to analyse the results of an MRI scan.
The Rugby Football Union are not planning to make an official announcement about Tindall's availability until Martin Johnson names his team on Thursday.
If Tindall is forced to miss the trip to Dublin, number eight Nick Easter would be the leading candidate to take over the captaincy.
"Losing Mike would be a blow and especially so for Mike himself after what he has done for the team," Johnson said. "But leadership is one part of our game that has really developed over the last 12 months.
"If Mike is not fit to go, then the guys will just crack on.
"Matt did really well in that position when he came on, while the leadership within the group has been sound."