Dupuy banned for six-months for gouging

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The Independent Online

Stade Francais scrum-half Julien Dupuy was today handed a six-month ban for eye gouging Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris.

An independent disciplinary hearing in Dublin ruled that Dupuy should be suspended up to and including June 3, 2010.

Dupuy was cited following the attack on Ferris which occurred during Stade Francais' Pool 4 match against Ulster at Ravenhill on December 12.

After considering the evidence, independent judicial officer Judge Jeff Blackett (England) found that the incident was at the top end in the level of seriousness for an offence of this type and imposed the six-month ban.

In the case of David Attoub, the Stade Francais Paris replacement prop also cited for eye-gouging, Blackett ruled that further evidence needed to be considered and adjourned the hearing until a date to be confirmed in January.

Dupuy's ban suggests the authorities are stepping up the fight against eye-gouging after some high-profile cases.

South Africa lock Schalk Burger was banned for eight weeks for gouging Ireland winger Luke Fitzgerald in the second British and Irish Lions Test this summer.

The Italy captain, Sergio Parisse, was also suspended for eight weeks in June for an eye-gouging incident in his team's defeat 27-6 to New Zealand.