Leicester Tigers' Toby Flood cleared to play in Euro clash
Leicester Tigers fly-half Toby Flood has been cleared by a Rugby Union disciplinary hearing and is free to play against the Ospreys on Sunday.
The 27-year-old faced a charge of a dangerous 'tip-tackle' on Worcester's Andy Goode during last Friday's Aviva Premiership match at Sixways.
If found guilty, he would have almost certainly missed the crucial Heineken Cup games against the Ospreys and Toulouse.
But, following a lengthy hearing that lasted over two hours in central London last night, Flood was cleared of the charge and is almost certain to start at the Liberty Stadium.
It is a huge boost for Leicester going into the game. The England fly-half has been in good form all season and has plenty of experience of big games with 53 Test caps to his name.
Had Flood been suspended, 19-year-old George Ford was likely to have been thrown in to partner scrum-half Ben Youngs in the key half-back positions.
Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill said he was very pleased by the decision.
"I am obviously delighted with the result of the hearing," he said. "It was a very fair hearing which went into a great deal of detail and led to a very lengthy process.
"That was because the involvement of the other players within the tackle was clearly a huge debating point and was key to the outcome. We feel it was the right decision too.
"Now we can concentrate on the game on Sunday. It is great to have everyone available."
The three-man panel comprised of chairman Jeremy Summers, Dr Julian Morris and Philip Evans and the hearing took place in central London late last night.
Summers later explained the reasons behind their decision.
"While we found that the elements of a dangerous tackle were made out, after very careful analysis we could not be satisfied, to that standard required, that the dynamics of the incident had not been caused, or contributed to, significantly by the involvement of other players from both teams."