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Healy cleared of biting

British and Irish Lions prop Cian Healy has been cleared of biting Western Force scrum-half Brett Sheehan at a disciplinary hearing in Brisbane.

Healy attended a two-and-half hour hearing where judicial officer Nigel Hampton QC found insufficient evidence to support the allegation and cleared Healy.

While it means that the Ireland prop has avoided a ban, his tour hopes remain in the balance after he was carried off with an ankle injury during the 69-17 victory over the Force in Perth on Wednesday.

Alex Corbisiero is currently on his way from England's tour of Argentina to Australia, where he will provide injury cover for Healy, who was due to undergo a scan to gauge the extent of his injury. Healy, 25, was reported by match citing officer Freek Burger following the alleged 17th-minute incident in Perth, while Sheehan was asked to provide a statement.

But Hampton said: "There is no conclusive video evidence of the incident, and post-match it was not possible to distinguish any discernible bite marks outside of the 'regular' marks usually found following a rugby match. I cannot find proven on the balance of probabilities that there was a deliberate bite here, and the citing complaint is not upheld."

Hampton determined that during the tackle Sheehan's arm may have come in contact with Healy's mouth, and due to the pressure of the tackle it is likely that unavoidable contact between Healy's mouth and teeth and Sheehan's arm occurred.

The Lions continue their tour of Australia when they face the Reds in Brisbane on Saturday, with Wales international Gethin Jenkins handed a chance in the loosehead prop position that Healy filled on Wednesday.

In a statement released by the Lions, Healy said he had been disappointed to be cited in the first place.

"I am very relieved that the hearing has cleared me of such an allegation," he said. "I was naturally very disappointed that there was a citing in the first place.

"I always maintained that nothing happened and that I had done nothing illegal. The opposition player's arm hit me. It is as simple as that. The support I had from the management and all the lads was wonderful, and I am glad that it is all over."

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