Cueto off the hook? looks at the previous bans handed out for eye gouging

By Paul HIgham - On Twitter @SkySportsPaulH.   Last Updated: 12/04/11 4:31pm

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Sale's Mark Cueto has been handed a nine-week ban by the RFU after admitting eye gouging Northampton lock Christian Day, but has been let off lightly?

The ban means that Cueto can still play in the World Cup for England, but several other players found guilty of the same offence would not have been so lucky as they were hit with much longer suspensions.

England hooker Dylan Hartley is one such man, while the full two-year ban for the offence has been handed out just once and a year has been the punishment for one other player.

Here, looks at the previous bans handed out for eye gouging. Have your say on whether Cueto has been left off the hook by using the feedback form below.


The England hooker missed out on the 2007 World Cup after being handed a 26-week ban for gouging Wasps flankers Johnny O'Connor and James Haskell during a Premiership game. It was the longest ban given to an English player since 1998.


The Stade Francais prop was handed a 70-week ban for making contact with the eye or eye area of Ulster flanker Stephen Ferris during a Heineken Cup clash at Ravenhill in December of 2009. He was able to get the ban reduced to 52 weeks after an appeal to the France's National Olympic Committee (CNOSF).

His team-mate Julien Dupuy was handed a 24-week ban, reduced by a week on appeal, for committing the same offence in the same incident.


The Springbok flanker was handed just an eight-week suspension for putting his fingers into Luke Fitzgerald's eyes during the opening seconds of the second Test of the 2009 Lions tour. His coach Peter de Villiers controversially attempted to defend Burger by saying: "Do we really respect the game? If not, why don't we all go to the nearest ballet shop and get some nice tutus, get a great dancing show going on, no eye-gouging, no tackling, no nothing and then we will all enjoy it."


The Colomiers prop is the only professional player to have been handed the full two-year ban for the offence. The Frenchman was handed the suspension after being sent off for gouging Pontypridd hooker Sven Cronk in a Heineken Cup game in 1999.


The Cardiff Blues scrum-half missed this season's RBS Six Nations after being handed a 12-week suspension for making contact with the eye or eye area of Hartley during a game against Northampton in the Heineken Cup.


The abrasive Munster flanker missed the 2009 British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa after being handed a 12-week ban for an incident involving Leinster lock Leo Cullen. Quinlan later wrote: "I sank into a depression which took me months to get out of and, by the end, I knew how lucky I was to have come up for air again. It engulfed me. It subsumed me. It frightened me."

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