Jennings banned for 'eye-gouging'

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The Independent Online

The Leinster flanker Shane Jennings has been handed a 12-week ban for attempted eye-gouging of the London Irish lock Nick Kennedy.

An disciplinary hearing in Dublin yesterday put the Ireland forward out of action until 6 January, a massive blow to Leinster because Jennings will miss three Heineken Cup games for the holders, five Magners League matches as well as the autumn internationals. The hearing's independent judicial officer, Roger Morris, ruled that Jennings had been "guilty of an act contrary to good sportsmanship in contravention of Law 10.4" in "making contact with the eye area".

The decision came 24 hours after the Gloucester hooker Olivier Azam saw his appeal against a 12-week ban for kicking the Saracens and England captain Steve Borthwick in the face rejected. Borthwick leads Saracens at Toulon tonight, his first game since the clash with Azam on 27 September

The Wales head coach, Warren Gatland, has lost two players for the autumn internationals next month. The Ospreys full-back Lee Byrne suffered ligament damage to his right foot against Leicester on Sunday, and will be in plaster for six weeks. Ian Evans will need up to eight weeks to recover from a torn chest muscle suffered while playing for Swansea in Saturday's defeat against Pontypridd.