Byrnes faces SANZAR sanction
Sydney - Super Rugby's governing body is considering sanctioning Rebels lock
Adam Byrnes over comments he made in the media attacking Waratahs centre
Tom Carter last month.
Byrnes accused Carter of trying to ruin his livelihood by
levelling an eye gouging allegation against him during the Waratahs'
round two win over the Rebels in Melbourne. He told a media outlet
Carter's actions were a ''disgrace'' and displayed ''a very poor quality
as a human being''. It is understood Byrnes's comments could have
contravened SANZAR's code of conduct, which prevents players from
criticising match officials and team members.
SANZAR chief executive Greg Peters on Wednesday confirmed
Byrnes's ''printed comments [are] under consideration''. The 30-year-old
made the comments the day after a three-person appeals committee
overturned an initial 10-week playing ban handed down by the SANZAR
judiciary in the wake of the game.
The Rebels appealed the decision on the basis the scratch
left on Carter's eye was ''absolutely accidental and without intent''.
Byrnes later said Carter's pursuit of the complaint had threatened his
career and had been an attempt to bring him down.
''I understand that in the heat of battle things are
said. But to follow that through in a written statement and go through
this process is a disgrace,'' he told the newspaper. ''I think that is
bringing the game into disrepute, and it is the type of character that I
would never like to portray. I don't know the bloke, but to carry on
like he has is very poor quality.''
If SANZAR were to take action over Byrnes's comments, it
is believed it would be the first time a player has been penalised under
the code of conduct for criticising another player. In May last year
Reds winger Digby Ioane was fined $2 000 for criticising match referee
Keith Brown on Twitter. Ioane, who did not play in the match due to a
hairline facial fracture, called Brown the ''worst ref ever''. In 2010
former Brumbies star Matt Giteau was fined $5 000 for attacking referee
Steve Walsh and in 2007 Eddie Jones was fined $10 000 for a longer
attack on another rugby official, Matt Goddard.
Neither the Rebels nor the Waratahs were willing to
comment on the matter last night. It is understood the Rebels were not
aware Byrnes had given the interview following the team's successful
appeal. Byrnes's agent Mathew Cole said the second-rower was
concentrating on regaining his match fitness.