The Ospreys have been cleared of charges that they fielded an ineligible player in the Heineken Cup.
Ospreys in the clear
The Ospreys have been cleared of charges that they fielded an ineligible player in the Heineken Cup. European Rugby Cup (ERC), the tournament organisers, told the Welsh region on Monday night that they had "no case to answer" following an investigation into the registration of Ricky Januarie, the scrum-half. The South Africa international played in four group games after joining the Ospreys on loan from the Cape Town Stormers, the Super 14 side, in November.
Heineken Cup regulations state a player "must have at least a three-month contract with the club" to be eligible to play in the tournament. The Stormers said on Nov-ember 26 that Januarie was moving on a two-month deal. The ERC conducted an investigation after a reported complaint from Premier Rugby, the Guinness Premiership clubs' umbrella body. But, after a specially-convened board meeting in Dublin on Monday, the ERC said the Ospreys had been cleared.
"Having co-operated fully with ERC at all times during their investigation into this matter, and providing them with all the relevant paperwork relating to Ricky's contract and registration, we are delighted to have been informed they have found that Ospreys Rugby has no case to answer," said Roger Blyth, the Ospreys managing director. "Now that we can finally put this matter behind us, we are, along with our many supporters, looking forward to our quarter-final against Biarritz in San Sebastian on Saturday, April 10."
Meanwhile, Andy Powell, the Wales international, was banned from driving for 15 months yesterday after he admitted driving a golf buggy while unfit through drink. * PA Sport