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Ulster bonus as Rodney Ah You escapes with one-week ban

By Michael Sadlier

Having just got Rodney Ah You back on the paddock again, following injury, the last thing Les Kiss needed was to have him spending more time on the sidelines following last week’s sending off at the Dragons.

So, in that regard, things have worked out pretty well for Kiss and Ah You as the tight-head prop was yesterday handed down a one-week ban by a Disciplinary Panel meaning he will be available for tomorrow week’s crucial Guinness PRO12 clash at home to Cardiff Blues.

The Disciplinary Panel, which sat in Edinburgh, categorised Ah You’s sending off late in the game last Friday at Rodney Parade for a challenge on Dragons full-back Carl Meyer — deemed under Law 10.4 (g), Dangerous Charging — as not intentional and more a clumsy and reckless act by the Kiwi.

They therefore also categorised it at the Low End entry point of offending and handed the 28-year-old a two-week ban which was reduced to one week when taking into account his previously clean record.

The Ireland international’s period of suspension therefore just covers tomorrow’s Ulster ‘A’ friendly against Leinster ‘A’ at Banbridge which frees him to play in the must-win game for the fourth-placed province when the Blues rack up at the Kingspan.

Scottish referee Mike Adamson showed Ah You the red card for what was deemed to be an act of foul play late in the game at the Dragons which Ulster won 27-17 to notch up a sixth straight victory.

The former Connacht player was on the field after being sprung from the bench following Wiehahn Herbst’s earlier than expected departure just after the 20-minute mark.

The Disciplinary Panel — comprising Scots Roddy Dunlop QC, Iain Leslie and John Kirk — issued a statement which said that they had “accepted the player’s admission of guilt and upon review of the incident deemed it clumsy and reckless, but not intentional”.

As such Ah You’s challenge was categorised at the Low End entry point which has a suspension period of two weeks. However, the panel took into account his admission of responsibility and his previously clean record.

As such, his ban was reduced by one week and Ah You is now free to play on Monday, April 3 meaning that his suspension merely precludes him from taking any part in tomorrow’s ‘A’ game.

Ah You, who is in his first season with the province after joining last summer from Connacht, was involved in his 14th game for Ulster when he was red-carded.

The front-rower had recently returned from injury and the Dragons clash was only his second game back after suffering a knee ligament problem in the defeat at Leinster on New Year’s Eve.

As such, he probably could have done with another game under his belt for Ulster ‘A’ had he not been sent off in Newport.

But Kiss will at least now have him in the mix for the Blues game which could be of considerable value should Herbst not be fit and Ross Kane still be sidelined though, of course, Ricky Lutton is also available at tight-head.

Thanks to Ulster’s six straight wins and the Ospreys’ surprise defeat at Trevsio, the province are now just three points behind the third-placed Welsh region, the same number which separates Kiss’s squad from the Scarlets who are just outside the play-offs in fifth.

With just four regulation games to play, Ulster are now preparing to deliver a seventh straight win tomorrow week when they meet the Blues.

  • Tomorrow’s ‘A’ friendly against Leinster, at Rifle Park, kicks-off at 5.00pm.

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