London - England Grand Slam-winner George
Kruis was cleared of biting an opponent on Tuesday following a citing charge
that Saracens forwards coach Alex Sanderson labelled an "absolute
Kruis had been cited for an alleged attack
on Bath's David Wilson during Saracens 30-10 Premiership win at the Recreation
Ground on Friday, with the former England prop accused of eye-gouging the lock
in the same incident.
Had the 26-year-old Kruis been found
guilty, he could have received at least a 12-week ban that would have ruled him
out of both the rest of the domestic season and England's three-Test tour of
Australia in June.
But following a near five-hour hearing on
Tuesday, both Kruis and Wilson were cleared by a Rugby Football Union
"The panel has dismissed both citings
so they are free to play with immediate effect," said an RFU statement.
Afterwards, Sanderson was clearly annoyed
that Kruis, a key figure for Premiership leaders and defending champions
Saracens, as well as England, had to go before a hearing at all and said
current disciplinary procedures risked subjecting players to a "public
"It was an absolute travesty that he
was cited for something that obviously didn't happen," Sanderson said.
"I don't know the ins and outs of it,
but David Wilson seemed pretty embarrassed about it afterwards... that he'd
brought it to the attention of the referee.
"It might not have been, in his own
words, a bite. He just felt something. George said he wasn't eye-gouged (by
Wilson) and it didn't get him in his eyes."
Saracens' Chris Ashton was banned for 10
weeks for making contact with the eye area of Ulster centre Luke Marshall in
January, a ruling that scuppered the wing's hopes of an England recall during
the national side's subsequent Six Nations clean sweep.
Some observers felt Ashton's punishment
excessive and Sanderson said: "It's so frustrating. Back in the day you'd
literally shake hands because it was heat of the battle and you'd get on with
it. No harm done.
"But nowadays there are all the
cameras and they've built up the citing officers to look after players, which
is a good thing.
"But the power they have, the way they
have to wield it and hold people accountable, sometimes make a public lynching
"I think it's gone too far... It's
overstepped in the likes of Ashton. It's gone too far the other way, but
they'll find a happy balance I'm sure."