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Byrnes banned for 10 weeks
Sydney - Melbourne Rebels lock Adam Byrnes was Sunday found guilty of eye gouging and suspended for 10 weeks of the Super Rugby season, SANZAR said.
A SANZAR judicial hearing found Byrnes guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (m) for making contact with the eye after he was cited during the Rebels' match against the Waratahs in Melbourne on Friday.
SANZAR Judicial Officer Paul Tully viewed extensive video footage of the 27th-minute incident and took written testimony from Waratahs centre Tom Carter and Waratahs team doctor Luke Inman.
Tully said there was sufficient evidence to support that Byrnes had made contact with Carter's right eye during a ruck.
Medical evidence showed Carter had sustained a minor scratch to the eye, SANZAR said.
Under IRB regulations 12 weeks is the usual sanction for eye gouging but Tully said Byrnes's previous unblemished record had seen his suspension reduced by two weeks. He will be barred from playing up to and including May 13.
Byrnes was placed on report by match referee Bryce Lawrence who issued an on-field white card for a citing commissioner review following a complaint from Waratahs captain Daniel Halangahu about the incident.