x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Gouging ban for Parisse

Italy captain and influential back-row forward Sergio Parisse was yesterday suspended for eight weeks after being found guilty of eye gouging.

Italy captain and influential back-row forward Sergio Parisse was yesterday suspended for eight weeks after being found guilty of eye gouging. Parisse was cited after the Test in Christchurch on Saturday for "contact with the eyes or eye area" of New Zealand lock Isaac Ross. The All Blacks won the match 27-6. After viewing footage of the incident and hearing evidence from Parisse and match officials, judicial officer Paul Tully decided the action fell within the lower range of offending, as it was reckless and not deemed intentional, which has an entry point of 12 weeks suspension.

However, in light of mitigating factors, which included the fact contact was brief, had occurred in the open, there was no injury to Ross's eye and the initial contact had been with the cheek, Tully decided eight weeks was sufficient punishment. Parisse's suspension will begin on Aug 2 - the start of the Italian club season. Meanwhile, Australia coach Robbie Deans believes his team are well placed heading into the Tri-Nations after they extended their early season winning streak to four matches with a 16-point triumph over France.

The Wallabies backed up big wins over the Barbarians and Italy (twice) with a solid showing against a French side which pushed New Zealand to the limit in their recent drawn series. Deans said: "It's been a solid month for us, it's been a really good background for us and that was a better than solid performance to be fair. There were elements in there that we've been working on that we've had some visible growth in.

"Defence is obvious, the way the boys played the full 80 minutes, it was a full team effort." He added: "That's encouraging because we know from here we're going to get a serious test, in the Tri-Nations." * With agencies