Leinster flanker Shane Jennings has been cited for an alleged eyegouge on London Irish lock Nick Kennedy during their 12-9 loss on Friday in the opening round of the Heineken Cup.
There was a scuffle on the floor in which he looked to have made contact with the eye or eye area, which led to second rower Kennedy protesting vociferously to both Jennings, and later, French referee Romaine Poite.
You can clearly hear him saying that Jennings stuck his finger in his eye.
Citing commissioner for the match, Scottish official Richard McGhee, lodged the charge for alleged contact with the eye/eye area of Kennedy, which is in contravention of Law 10.4 (l) – Acts contrary to good sportsmanship.
An ERC statement said that the independent Judicial Officer would be appointed as soon as practicable.
Jennings remains eligible to play in the Heineken Cup in advance of the hearing, with a date for the hearing not set yet.
Interestingly, when asked about it by captain Bob Casey the next day, Kennedy admitted that he had overreacted, but citing commissioner Richard McGhee has still ruled that Jennings has a case to answer.
The IRB will meet today to discuss the perceived leniency of bans handed out by judicial officers during the summer for similar offences, namely to Schalk Burger and Sergio Parisse.
They are considering giving themselves the right to appeal if they feel the suspension is not sufficient for acts such as eye-gouging, that they consider heinous. The consistency of all decisions will also be discussed.
If Jennings is found guilty, he is sure to get a more severe ban than what we saw earlier this year for the same offence. Well keep an eye on things as they develop.
UPDATE: Jennings has received a 12 week ban, and will not be able to play again until the 6th of January . He has the right to appeal.
Note: We’ve included the ensuing scuffle in this clip, for interests sake.