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Page last updated at 10:12 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 11:12 UK

Gouging penalties to be reviewed

Schalk Burger and referee Christophe Berdos
Burger was yellow carded for gouging in the second minute of the game

The International Rugby Board is to review penalties for eye-gouging in the aftermath of the recent incident involving South Africa's Schalk Burger.

He was banned for eight weeks after gouging British and Irish Lions winger Luke Fitzgerald in the second Test.

"There is no place in rugby for illegal or foul play. Gouging is particularly heinous," said an IRB statement.

Springbok coach Peter de Villiers was widely condemned for defending Burger's actions before changing his mind.

The IRB will also review whether to extend the appeals process to include the opposition and the governing body.

At present, only the suspended player can appeal against the independent judicial decisions on bans.

Cardiff Taffy

The same weekend Burger was suspended, Italy captain Sergio Parisse was also banned for eight weeks for a similar offence in Italy's defeat by New Zealand.

There have been suspensions in the last two years for gouging, with penalties varying from Burger's eight weeks to a six month ban for England hooker Dylan Hartley, which ruled him out of the 2007 World Cup.

Munster's Alan Quinlan was also ruled out of contention for the Lions tour after being suspended for 12 weeks for a gouging incident in their Heineken Cup semi-final against Leinster.

IRB vice-chairman and former England skipper Bill Beaumont told BBC Radio 5 Live: "We are very concerned. We want to cut it out of the game.

"It could well be that by lifting the minimum tariff on the entry level for bans that players could receive for this offence and if that is a deterrent then that's what we have got to have a look at.

"What we have got to do is make certain that rugby is on the back pages of every newspaper for the right reasons."

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see also
Smit worried by Botha precedent
03 Jul 09 |  Rugby Union
O'Driscoll criticises De Villiers
30 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Boks coach backs down over Burger
29 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
SA's Burger handed eight-week ban
29 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Burger 'gouge' angers Fitzgerald
27 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
South Africa 28-25 Lions
27 Jun 09 |  Rugby Union
Hook receives surprise Lions call
23 May 09 |  Rugby Union
Saints withdraw Hartley's appeal
25 Apr 07 |  Northampton

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