Kyle Sinckler of Harlequins appeared before an RFU disciplinary panel this evening.
The Harlequins prop was cited by Independent Citing Commissioner Chris Catling for allegedly making contact with the eye and/or eye area of Northampton Saints’ Michael Paterson, contrary to law 10.4(m).
The incident occurred in the second half of the match Northampton v Harlequins on Saturday 30 September 2017.
Sinckler accepted the charge of contact with the eye and was given a seven week suspension by the independent panel. He is free to play again on the 21 November 2017
The Chairman of the panel Dan White said: “The panel heard evidence from the player as to his actions. They found that it was an intentional action but that due to the absence of injury it merited a low end entry point.
“The player has not got a clear record because of a suspension in 2015 and so the panel could not give full mitigation. The player will therefore be suspended for seven weeks and is free to play again on the 21 November 2017”
The RFU disciplinary panel comprised of Dan White (chairman) with Chris Skaife and Jamie Corsi.
In response to the sanction Harlequins Director of Rugby John Kingston commented: “Despite Kyle’s unfair public reputation he actually has a very good on-field disciplinary record.
“There is no doubt in my mind that this incident was accidental, but both myself, and as a club we fully accept the importance of player welfare and believe wholeheartedly that there is no place for any players’ hand ever to be around the eye area of an opponent.
“We therefore accept the sanction and will be working with the whole squad around improving our discipline over the coming matches.”
Kyle added: “I accept the outcome of the hearing and wanted to go on record to say I am sorry that I have let my team mates down, but more importantly I feel terrible that anyone would think I would deliberately gouge an opponent. That was never my intention – it was a genuine mistake and an act of recklessness on my part.
“I will spend the next seven weeks working hard on my fitness and rugby to ensure that when I am able to get back on the field I am fit and ready to do so and make the best possible contribution to Quins.”