Jennings loses gouging appeal

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The Independent Online

Ireland flanker Shane Jennings today lost his appeal against a 12-week suspension for gouging.

Jennings was handed the suspension for 'making contact with the eye area' of Nick Kennedy in Leinster's 12-9 Heineken Cup defeat by London Irish on October 9.



An independent committee in Dublin dismissed the appeal today after finding that Jennings had not demonstrated the original decision had been made in error or that it should be overturned or varied.

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

The 28-year-old will also miss Leinster's next two rounds of the Heineken Cup - home and away fixtures against the Scarlets.



The European champions were dismayed when the original verdict - which imposed the entry point sanction for a low-end offence - was delivered eight days ago because of the lack of video evidence.



It was also thought his chances of having the suspension overturned or reduced would have improved with Kennedy's subsequent admission that he over-reacted to the first-half incident.



But Jennings, who has five caps, appears to have suffered from the International Rugby Board's crackdown on the offence.



Gouging hit the headlines during the summer when South Africa flanker Schalk Burger was banned for just eight weeks for making contact with the eye of the Lions wing Luke Fitzgerald.



Northampton lock Juandre Kruger was today handed a three-week ban for stamping during Saints' 29-13 defeat by Perpignan last Friday.

The independent disciplinary hearing found that Kruger had stamped on scrum-half Nicolas Durand and that the offence was in the mid-range of severity.



The South African, who was suspended for one week following an internal disciplinary hearing, can resume playing on November 9.



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