Kruis cleared of biting charge

George Kruis (Getty)
George Kruis (Getty)

London - England Grand Slam-winner George Kruis was cleared of biting an opponent on Tuesday 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 at the Recreation Ground on Friday, with the former England prop accused of eye-gouging the lock in the same incident.

Had the 26-year-old Kruis been found guilty, he 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 on Tuesday, both Kruis and Wilson were cleared by a Rugby Football Union disciplinary panel.

"The panel has dismissed both citings so they are free to play with immediate effect," said an RFU statement.

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. It's gone too far the other way, but they'll find a happy balance I'm sure."

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