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Exeter forward James Hanks has been cleared of deliberately eye-gouging Saracens lock Steve Borthwick

Last Updated: 25/09/12 8:09pm

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James Hanks: Cleared of eye-gouging after hearing

James Hanks: Cleared of eye-gouging after hearing

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Exeter forward James Hanks has been cleared of deliberately eye-gouging Saracens lock Steve Borthwick during Sunday's Aviva Premiership game at Sandy Park.

Hanks was cited with allegedly making contact with Borthwick's eye or eye area during the Chiefs' 14-12 victory.

However a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel, chaired by chief disciplinary officer Judge Jeff Blackett, concluded that the contact had been accidental and the citing was dismissed.

Blackett, who was joined on the panel by Nick Dark and Mike Curling, said in a statement: "The panel concluded that James Hanks' finger did make contact with Steve Borthwick's eye.

"However, the contact occurred in a dynamic situation during a ruck, when James Hanks was driving forward and putting his hand down to prevent him from falling over.

"The contact was entirely accidental."

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