Ireland 15-10 South Africa, Croke Park, November 28
Ireland angry as Heaslip cleared
December 1, 2009
Ireland's Jamie Heaslip is tackles by South Africa's Danie Rossouw, Ireland v South Africa, Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland, November 28, 2009
Jamie Heaslip has no case to answer © Getty Images

The Irish Rugby Football Union said it was "very disappointed" in South Africa after Jamie Heaslip was cleared of eye-gouging by the independent citing commissioner Douglas Hunter in the fall-out from the Croke Park encounter on Saturday.

After it was deemed Heaslip had no case to answer, the IRFU issued a statement which said South Africa had caused one of their players to be unnecessarily linked with eye-gouging in the media, thanks to the Tri-Nations champions' "unsubstantiated" referral of the incident.

Following the match, South Africa had asked Hunter to review incidents involving three Irish players, but later reduced their accusations to two and then just Heaslip.

They were reportedly abloe to provide no details or evidence of the No.8's alleged contact with the eye area of Brussow. Given those circumstances, Ireland were unhappy to see Heaslip's name made public.

The IRFU statement read: "The Six Nations has confirmed to the Irish Rugby Football Union that none of a number of referrals made by South Africa against Ireland players has been upheld by the independent citing commissioner that was present at the game between Ireland and South Africa in Croke Park on Saturday 28 November.

"The Ireland management is however very disappointed that the name of an Ireland player was subsequently associated with eye gouging in the media as a result of one of these unsubstantiated referrals.

"The Ireland management fully support and believe in the integrity of the citing process in place but believe that any referrals in this process should be made only when they are material and substantial.

"The Ireland management will be making no further comment and consider the matter closed."


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