Leinster flanker Jennings loses appeal - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Leinster flanker Jennings loses appeal

23/10/2009 07:56:43 AM Comments (0)

Leinster's Shane Jennings had his appeal against a 12-week ban for gouging dismissed by an independent committee on Thursday.

The flanker was suspended until January 6 after he was found guilty of eye-gouging London Irish lock Nick Kennedy in a European Cup tie on October 9.

He will miss three European Cup games and five league matches as well as Ireland's three autumn Tests.

The Independent Committee dismissed the appeal after finding that Jennings had not demonstrated the original decision had been made in error or that it should be overturned or varied.

"Accordingly, the Appeal Committee dismissed the appeal and upheld the suspension imposed on the player of 12 weeks," said an ERC (European Club Rugby) statement.

Jennings, who has five caps, will resume playing on January 7, ruling him out of Ireland's autumn internationals against Australia, Fiji and South Africa.

Leinster coach Michael Cheika slammed the decision and insisted Jennings' reputation had been permanently damaged by an incident Kennedy later admitted he had overreacted to.

"We are mystified by the decision and the whole process because we still maintain that Shane wasn't guilty of anything," said Cheika.

"To be cited in the first instance, it requires the incident to warrant a red card, but it didn't even merit a penalty, never mind a red card.

"Unfortunately the disciplinary officer wanted to pursue the matter even though there was verbal and written testimony from the London Irish player stating that he "overreacted".

"We will be standing by Shane during this difficult time and I know that he will emerge stronger from this disappointing judgement."

Jennings appears to have suffered from the International Rugby Board's crackdown on gouging after South Africa flanker Schalk Burger was banned for just eight weeks during the summer for making contact with the eye of the Lions wing Luke Fitzgerald.

Jennings' foul play was judged to be in the "low-end in the level of seriousness for an offence of this type" but the sanction for such a penalty still remains 12 weeks.

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