Ed O’Donoghue has been cleared of eye gouging during the Queensland Reds’ Super Rugby game against Melbourne Rebels.
Queensland Reds lock Ed O’Donoghue has been cleared of the stain of eye-gouging after being exonerated at a SANZAR judicial hearing on Monday night.
In news that makes a folly of the match-deciding penalty that saw O’Donoghue red-carded and the Melbourne Rebels claim victory at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, judicial officer Jannie Lubbe found the second-rower not guilty of gouging Scott Higginbotham.
While television match official Steve Lescynscki said he detected fingers in the eyes of Higginbotham, Lubbe took a different view after studying all camera angles in conjunction with medical evidence from the Rebels that their skipper was unharmed.
“The act of eye gouging generally triggers a reaction from the victim which was not evident in this case and helped support my finding,” the judicial hearing chairman said.
“Eye gouging is certainly a very serious and unacceptable offence in the game of rugby and any allegation warrants a thorough investigation.
“In this instance, having thoroughly reviewed video evidence from numerous angles and the considering witness testimony, I am satisfied that Mr O’Donoghue has not committed the act in question.”
Queensland skipper James Horwill was furious after the 30-27 loss, as the TMO over-ruled a penalty awarded to the Reds by referee Steve Walsh.
Horwill also said Higginbotham should have been punished for a headbutt that led to a facial masssage from O’Donoghue.