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Moriarty cleared of cheating

Newcastle coach Paul Moriarty has been cleared of cheating over an incident in which he appeared to have fabricated an injury to prop Tim Ryan.

In last month's match against Northampton, the Falcons withdrew Kieran Brookes after he took a blow to the ribs. In a half-time interview, Moriarty seemed suggest this was a temporary replacement and that Brooks would return at some point in the second half. Ryan, who had missed training in the preceding week because of a back injury, was duly withdrawn six minutes into the second period to be replaced by Brookes.

RFU disciplinary officer Jeff Blackett said: "An inference could be drawn from Moriarty's statement to the media that Newcastle had planned to give Brookes a break and then fabricate an injury to Ryan so that he could return to the game after a rest. Were that to be the case it would have been cheating. However, I am satisfied that there was no intention to cheat."

Blackett continued: "Ryan had been injured during the week and although passed fit to play it was clear at half-time that he would not last the rest of the match.

"There is no requirement in the regulations for a medical examination of a player removed for injury, so it is impossible to gainsay Newcastle's evidence that Ryan was injured.

"It is also clear that when Brookes was replaced he understood that he would not return - this is supported by the evidence that he was given a post-match recovery drink and did not warm up with other unused replacements.

"Newcastle only decided that he might have to go back on when it became apparent that Ryan was injured and could not continue."

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