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Dublin: 12°C Sunday 9 May 2021

George Kruis cleared of biting - and Saracens are calling the charge an 'absolute travesty'

England star free to play against Northampton in the Champions Cup quarter-finals.

Kruis: Cleared following marathon hearing on Tuesday.
Kruis: Cleared following marathon hearing on Tuesday.
Image: David Davies

ENGLAND’S GRAND SLAM winner George Kruis was cleared of biting an opponent following a citing charge that Saracens forwards coach Alex Sanderson labelled an “absolute travesty.”

Kruis had been cited for an alleged attack on Bath’s David Wilson during Saracens’ 30-10 Premiership win, with the former England prop accused of eye-gouging Kruis in the same incident.

Had Kruis been found guilty, the 26-year-old could have received at least a 12-week ban that would have ruled him out of both the rest of the domestic season and England’s three-Test tour of Australia in June.

But following a near five-hour hearing, both players were cleared by a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel late last night.

“The panel has dismissed both citings so they are free to play with immediate effect,” said a statement.

‘Public lynching’

Afterwards, Sanderson was clearly annoyed that Kruis, a key figure for Premiership leaders and defending champions Saracens, as well as England, had to go before a hearing at all and said current disciplinary procedures risked subjecting players to a “public lynching.”

“It was an absolute travesty that he was cited for something that obviously didn’t happen,” Sanderson said.

I don’t know the ins and outs of it, but David Wilson seemed pretty embarrassed about it afterwards… that he’d brought it to the attention of the referee.

It might not have been, in his own words, a bite. He just felt something. George said he wasn’t eye-gouged (by Wilson) and it didn’t get him in his eyes.

Saracens’ Chris Ashton was banned for 10 weeks for making contact with the eye area of Ulster centre Luke Marshall in January, a ruling that scuppered the wing’s hopes of an England recall during the national side’s subsequent Six Nations clean sweep.

Some observers felt Ashton’s punishment excessive and Sanderson said: “It’s so frustrating. Back in the day you’d literally shake hands because it was heat of the battle and you’d get on with it. No harm done.

“But nowadays there are all the cameras and they’ve built up the citing officers to look after players, which is a good thing.

“But the power they have, the way they have to wield it and hold people accountable, sometimes make a public lynching of players.

“I think it’s gone too far… It’s overstepped in the likes of (Ashton’s case). It’s gone too far the other way, but they’ll find a happy balance I’m sure.”

© AFP 2016

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