Leinster flanker Shane Jennings has received a 12 week suspension following a citing from the province’s opening Heineken Cup Pool 6 match against London Irish at the RDS last Friday.
The citing lodged by the Citing Commissioner for the match, Richard McGhee (Scotland), was for alleged contact with the eye or eye area of London Irish lock Nick Kennedy in contravention of Law 10.4 (l), acts contrary to good sportsmanship.
After considering the evidence, the independent Judicial Officer, Roger Morris (Wales), determined that Shane Jennings was guilty of an act contrary to good sportsmanship in contravention of Law 10.4 (l) in that he made contact with the eye or eye area of Nick Kennedy.
The Judicial Officer found that it was in the low-end in the level of seriousness for an offence of this type.
Having taken into account any mitigating and aggravating factors, the independent Judicial Officer suspended the player for a period of 12 weeks running up to and including January 6, 2010.
Under IRB Regulation 17 and the ERC Heineken Cup Disciplinary Rules, the recommended sanction entry point for a low-end offence of contact with eye or eye area is 12 weeks.
The suspension rules Jennings out of contention for next month’s Ireland senior and ‘A’ international matches, while he will be banned for three of Leinster’s Heineken Cup pool games, including this weekend’s trip to Brive, and five Magners League ties.
Leinster Rugby issued a statement after the hearing saying that they are ‘surprised and extremely disappointed with today’s ruling even though there was clear evidence from the opposition player that the act was not intentional.’
The Leinster statement continued: “The ERC Disciplinary Committee appears to have found that Shane Jennings was careless with his actions, which is a shock to us.
“Shane has an impeccable record and a strong leadership role within the squad as our vice captain and we will be appealing this decision.
“Leinster Rugby will not be commenting further until after the written report which will ‘be issued as soon as is reasonably practicable’ according to the ERC rules.”