Fiji Sun

O’Brien: I’m Ready To Play

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Sean O’Brien says he is looking forward to rejoining the British and Irish Lions squad after a citing complaint against him was dismissed.

The Lions and Ireland flanker is free to play in Saturday’s Test series decider against the New Zealand All Blacks.

It comes as All Blacks Sonny Bill Williams got a four-week ban.

Williams was given a 25th-minute red card by French referee Jerome Garces following a shoulder charge into Lions wing Anthony Watson’s head at Westpac Stadium. O’Brien was reported by match citing commission­er Scott Nowland for allegedly striking All Blacks wing Waisake Naholo with his arm during Saturday’s second Test. O’Brien denied he committed an offence during a lengthy three-man judicial hearing in Wellington on Sunday, with the citing complaint subsequent­ly being thrown out.

In a response issued to the verdict by the Lions, O’Brien said: “Firstly, I hope Waisake is OK.

“I would like to thank the panel for carefully considerin­g the case, and I am looking forward to rejoining the whole squad to prepare for the final Test.”

And Lions head coach Warren Gatland added: “We would like to thank the panel for their profession­al and diligent approach. Sean is a tough but fair player, and we are pleased that the panel dismissed the citing.” The Lions, fresh from a 24-21 second Test victory over the All Blacks in Wellington, have now decamped to the Southern Alps’ tourist hot-spot of Queenstown for a few days’ rest and recuperati­on.

And the O’Brien news is a huge boost for the Lions as they target victory in Auckland next weekend, which would give them a first Test series triumph against New Zealand since 1971. Uncompromi­sing Leinster forward O’Brien impressed in the second Test win, and he is set to be a key part of Gatland’s plans at Eden Park.

 ?? Photo: Zimbio ?? Fiery Ireland flanker Sean O’Brien is cleared to play for the British and Irish Lions in Saturday’s deciding Test clash against the All Blacks.
Photo: Zimbio Fiery Ireland flanker Sean O’Brien is cleared to play for the British and Irish Lions in Saturday’s deciding Test clash against the All Blacks.

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