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Palisson rages at Flannery ‘attack’

By Hugh Farrelly

France winger Alexis Palisson has condemned Jerry c for “attacking” him during Saturday's clash at the Stade de France as the Irish hooker's participation in the remainder of this year's Six Nations was plunged into doubt after his citing yesterday.

Flannery brought down Palisson with his leg after the Brive man had picked up the ball on 23 minutes with the winger forced off injured as a result of the incident.

“I am really angered,” said Palisson. “The guy attacks me and he is not even punished. Not even 10 minutes (in the sin bin) while for me, the match is finished.”

The Munster hooker has been charged with an “alleged kick” — an offence that carries a sanction range of between four and 12 weeks but can also result in a maximum one-year ban — with the independent three-man disciplinary committee expected to meet tomorrow.

Referee Wayne Barnes consulted his touch judge Stuart Terheege, who believed the challenge to be a “shoulder charge”, and Flannery escaped a red card. It meant a penalty that had been awarded to Ireland was reversed and it came at a bad time with prop Cian Healy already in the sin-bin — a 10-minute spell that saw France score 10 points on their way to their comprehensive 33-10 victory.

There is an argument that Flannery was swinging his leg at the bouncing ball which Palisson gathered just before the Irishman connected but, given the IRB's crackdown on foul play, he could be forced to miss the rest of the Six Nations.

Ireland are already likely to be without Rob Kearney for the trip to Twickenham on Saturday week as the full-back battles a medial ligament strain while captain Brian O'Driscoll is hoping to overcome bruising to his knee in time to face England. There has been stinging criticism of Ireland’s performance in Paris and many critics now argue that Ireland are not capable of retaining the Six Nations Championship.

But Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris has hit back saying: “Everyone is feeling frustrated and we want to go and put it right at Twickenham in two weeks' time,” he said.

“The past 12 to 18 months have been fantastic. We've ground out some good wins but fair play to France, they deserved it. We need to be more clinical against England. The race for the title is not over yet. You don't become a bad team overnight. If we can cut out the silly mistakes there's no reason why we can't win at Twickenham.”

The Ireland squad gather in Cork tomorrow for training but the squad members who did not start in Paris have returned to their provinces in preparation for Magners League matches. Ulster take on the Newport-Gwent Dragons on Friday night.

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