O'Brien cleared of foul play

British and Irish Lions' loose forward Sean O'Brien has been cleared to play the third and final test against the All Blacks at Eden Park this Saturday.

He was cleared of dangerous play during the second match in Wellington after being cited for a swinging arm, which was not dealt with by the on-field officials at the time.

O'Brien was cited after television footage showed his forearm clearly made contact with the face of All Blacks winger Waisake Naholo as the Irish loose forward joined a tackle in the 59th minute of the match.

Naholo was taken from the pitch for a concussion test, which he failed, forcing his replacement. Referee Jerome Garces, who had sin-binned Lions prop Mako Vunipola minutes before, took no action on the pitch.

The Ireland flanker was charged by citing commissioner Scott Nowland after the game.

The judicial panel comprised three Australians: Adam Casselden, David Croft, and John Langford.

"Having conducted a detailed review of all the evidence available, including all video footage and additional evidence from the player and submissions from his legal representative Max Duthie, the Independent Judicial Committee dismissed the citing complaint," NZR said in a statement.

The committee had earlier banned All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams for four weeks after he was shown a red card for a shoulder charge on Anthony Watson in the 25th minute of the match.

O'Brien has played both tests for the Lions on this tour.

Sean O'Brien said: "Firstly, I hope Waisake is ok. I'd like to thank the panel for carefully considering the case and I am looking forward to re-joining the whole squad to prepare for the final Test."

Lions Head Coach Warren Gatland said: "We'd 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."


Photo: PhotoSport Lions' Sean O'Brien