Rebels to appeal Byrnes' ban
Melbourne - The Rebels will appeal a 10-week suspension handed to second-rower
Adam Byrnes for scratching the eye of Waratahs centre Tom Carter during
the teams’ spiteful second-round match on Friday.
the end of a 5-hour SANZAR judiciary hearing held by video link
yesterday, Byrnes was judged to have intentionally made contact with
Carter’s eye in the 27th minute of the game in Melbourne.
will not be allowed to play any rugby until round 13 of the
competition, when the Rebels play the Force on May 20 in Perth. But the
Rebels announced on Sunday they would appeal the decision.
‘‘The RaboDirect Rebels share Byrnes’s disappointment with this finding
and will fully support him throughout the appeal process,’’ the club
announced. ‘‘The club would also like to make it clear that despite
media reports, there is no suggestion that Byrnes engaged in any ‘eye
gouging’. We believe any contact made was absolutely accidental and
Byrnes’s suspension is believed to be the
first handed down under the new ‘‘white-card’’ hearing system being
trialled by SANZAR. Byrnes was involved in several on-field
confrontations during Melbourne’s 35-19 loss, but it was his tussle
with Carter that attracted a white card.
SANZAR judiciary duty officer Paul Tully found there was
enough video and medical evidence to show the 30-year-old lock had made
contact with Carter’s right eye, leaving a visible scratch. One video
angle shows Byrnes wrapping his hand around Carter’s head and his
fingers appear to graze his opponent’s face.
Waratahs captain Daniel Halangahu and Carter reported an
‘‘eye gouge’’ to referee Bryce Lawrence, which was referred to the
citing commissioner. As there is no charge of ‘‘eye gouge’’ in the
IRB’s laws, the charge Byrnes faced was for an act ‘‘contrary to good
sportsmanship - making contact with the eye’’.