MUNSTER winger Gerhard van den Heever will miss the province’s two opening European Champions Cup pool fixtures with Treviso and Stade Francais after receiving a two-week suspension.
South African-born van den Heever was cited for an alleged dangerous tackle on Tom Brown in Munster’s 16-14 Pro12 victory over Edinburgh.
He appeared before an independent Pro12 disciplinary committee in Cardiff this Wednesday, which found that the player had committed an act of foul play, meriting a three-week suspension which was then reduced by one week.
Van den Heever will now miss the province’s crunch European collisions against Treviso at Thomond Park this weekend and Stade Francais in Paris on Sunday week.
Munster face Treviso in their opening pool fixture in this season’s European Champions Cup at Thomond Park on Saturday, 5.15pm. Munster’s remaining pool opponents are French champions Stade Francais and Aviva Premiership heavyweights Leicester Tigers.
Munster coach Anthony Foley is hopeful Keith Earls will be available to play this weekend after picking up a concussion on the province’s win over Edinburgh at the weekend. It is the Limerickman’s second such injury in the last 10 weeks.
Earls suffered a cut forehead, black eye and concussion in the dying stages of the game, but Foley says he would be more worried if he had picked it up from an innocuous challenge.
Earls has passed all of the return-to-play tests to date and took a light part in training at UL on Tuesday. However, he will have to be assessed as the week progresses to see if he can play.