Wales have been boosted by the news that full back Lee Byrne’s two-week ban has been over turned which means he will be available for selection for the opening round of the RBS 6 Nations championship on Saturday.
An Independent Appeal Committee sitting in Glasgow today, allowed the appeal brought by Byrne against the level of sanction imposed by an independent Disciplinary Hearing.
The appeal was against the level of sanction imposed by the original independent Disciplinary Hearing on Friday, 29 January, 2010, who had found Byrne guilty of a Misconduct Complaint arising from the Heineken Cup round 6 match against Leicester Tigers at the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, 23 January, 2010, in that he had re-entered the pitch without the referee’s permission and that he knew or ought to have known that he needed that permission.
The Independent Appeal Committee, chaired by Rod McKenzie (Scotland) and also comprising Professor Lorne Crerar (Scotland) and Bill Dunlop (Scotland), found that Byrne had demonstrated that the original decision had been in error and the sanction should be varied to a fine of €5,000.
The Group Chief Executive of the Welsh Rugby Union, Roger Lewis, said: ”I am delighted that the independent appeal committee have reached this decision which is great news for Lee Byrne and for Wales.
“It has been an extremely difficult time for the player, but we have been determined to give him all the support he needed to achieve this fair resolution of a difficult matter.
“It has not been an easy decision either for the original independent committee hearing the evidence or the appeal panel and I applaud them all on their diligence in this matter.
“I hope this sends out a message to the followers of Welsh rugby that the WRU is an organisation which will always stand by individuals who deserve and need our help.
“We sat down with Lee as soon as the original penalty was announced and started to plan for the appeal.
“There have been a lot of meetings and discussions over the past days but it has all been worthwhile because we are now celebrating an important victory for all concerned.
“I know how hard all the players, coaches and backroom staff in the national squad work for success and they must always be confident that the WRU will stand firm in support of all their efforts.
“We want every player who pulls on a Welsh jersey to know that we are with them all the way. Now it’s back to business and we can all look forward to a great game of rugby at Twickenham.”