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Ospreys cleared of wrongdoing


Ricky Januarie

Ricky Januarie

Ricky Januarie

The Ospreys have been cleared of fielding an ineligible player in the Heineken Cup.

Tournament organisers European Rugby Cup Ltd (ERC) informed the Welsh region they had "no case to answer" following an investigation into the registration of scrum-half Ricky Januarie. The South Africa international joined the Ospreys on loan from Cape Town-based Super 14 outfit the Stormers at the end of November and he played in four group games.

Heineken Cup regulations state a player "must have at least a three-month contract with the club" to be eligible to play in the tournament.

The Stormers' website announced on November 26 Januarie was moving on a two-month deal.

ERC conducted a full investigation following a reported complaint from Premier Rugby, the Guinness Premiership clubs' umbrella body.

But, after holding a specially-convened board meeting in Dublin today, ERC informed the Ospreys they had been cleared.

Ospreys managing director Roger Blyth said in a statement issued tonight: "Having co-operated fully with ERC at all times during their investigation into this matter, and providing them with all the relevant paperwork relating to Ricky's contract and registration, we are delighted to have been informed that they have found that Ospreys Rugby has no case to answer.

"Now that we can finally put this matter behind us, we are, along with our many supporters, looking forward to our quarter-final against Biarritz in San Sebastian on Saturday, April 10."

The Ospreys had already faced one investigation over their Heineken Cup conduct this season, receiving a fine for briefly fielding 16 players in their decisive group match against Leicester.

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