O’Brien es­capes ban ahead of fi­nal Test

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS - WELLING­TON:

Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions flanker Sean O’Brien avoided a ban yesterday for an al­leged strike dur­ing the sec­ond Test against New Zealand, mean­ing he is free to play next week’s de­ci­sive third game. In a ma­jor boost for the Lions, a ju­di­cial panel cleared O’Brien over the al­leged strike on Waisake Na­holo, which the cit­ing com­mis­sioner Scott Now­land had said “met the thresh­old for a red card”. “Hav­ing con­ducted a de­tailed re­view of all the ev­i­dence avail­able... (the panel) dis­missed the cit­ing com­plaint,” a state­ment said. The de­ci­sion comes af­ter the panel is­sued a four-week ban for Sonny Bill Wil­liams, who be­came the first All Black to be sent off on home soil dur­ing Satur­day’s 24-21 Lions vic­tory. Wil­liams, who was the first All Black to be sent off in a test for 50 years, is ex­pected to miss the de­cid­ing third test at Auck­land on Satur­day. O’Brien will be a key man as the Lions bid to win their first se­ries in New Zealand since 1971, as shown when he com­pleted a bril­liant run­ning try in the tourists’ firstTest de­feat in Auck­land. —AFP

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