Rebels to appeal Byrnes' ban

2012-03-05 07:45

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.

At 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.

He 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 without intent.’’

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’’.

Rugby Heaven

  • Renny - 2012-03-05 10:21

    From what I saw even a yellow hard would be harsh. I think even Ebersohn was surprised by the refs decision. My word the Cheetas really played bad rugby this weekend.

  • aubreylo - 2012-03-05 13:54

    As a Rugby supporter, I was surprised that Hogaard got a red card, we watched the incident a few times and concluded that the player supporting the tackled player stopped supporting which resulted in the player going down quite heavily. This was a result of overbalancing more than Hogaard could have prevented. Red Card ... No at worst I believe a Yellow card ...most definitely not anything worse. As a sharks supporter perspective, send him off and suspend him for a year ... :) not sporting but hey I takes a good player out of the Bulls team ... :) But I love the sport and would rather have good players playing than being suspended for something that was clearly not there fault.

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