Quinlan cited over suspected eye gouging - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Quinlan cited over suspected eye gouging

05/05/2009 05:52:56 AM Comments (0)

Irish flanker Alan Quinlan's hopes of touring South Africa with the British and Irish Lions were left hanging in the balance after he was cited on Monday on suspicion of eye gouging.

Television pictures appeared to show the experienced back-row making contact with the right eye of Leinster captain Leo Cullen during champions Munster's 25-6 European Cup semi-final loss to their Irish rivals on Saturday.

Recent precedent, involving the likes of Neil Best and Dylan Hartley, indicates that Quinlan faces a ban of several months were he to be found guilty of gouging.

The minimum sanction is a 12-week ban, with suspensions in one tournament barring a player from all rugby.

If Quinlan, 34, were to receive a similar punishment, he would be ruled out of the Lions' 10-match tour, featuring three Tests against the world champion Springboks, which starts later this month.

Earlier this season, Northampton and Ireland flanker Neil Best received an 18-week ban and in 2007 Saints hooker Dylan Hartley was suspended for 26 weeks.

If surprise pick Quinlan is banned, Lions head coach Ian McGeechan could select the likes of Wales captain Ryan Jones or England back-row Tom Croft as a replacement.

Quinlan, whose career has been blighted by injury, won the last of his 27 Ireland caps against New Zealand at Croke Park in November and did not feature in the Ireland side that this year won a Six Nations Grand Slam.

Munster provided a record-equalling eight players for a Lions party when coach Ian McGeechan announced his 37-man squad for the tour in April.

But since then, the Irish province's scrum-half, Tomas O'Leary, has been ruled out with a fractured ankle.

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