Italy’s Leonardo Ghiraldini was handed a 15 week ban by the IRB on this day in rugby history in 2011 for his attempted eye gouge on Ireland’s Cian Healy in their Rugby World Cup match.
Twenty minutes in Healy reacted to the eye gouging even when referee Jonathan Kaplan could not see the action. The event caused a stop in play and was caught on tape with the many camera angles available from Rugby World Cup coverage.
The Benetton Treviso player denied that the incident was deliberate but the disciplinary committee did not agree. They did reduce his ban due to his past disciplinary record.
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A statement released by Rugby World Cup Limited read:
"The judicial officer took the view there should be an increase on the suspension period prescribed by the entry point for deterrent purposes, noting that increased penalties had not been reflected in any significant reduction in offending of this kind.”
"However, taking into account particular aspects of the offending in this case and a range of mitigating factors, principally Ghiraldini's previously unblemished record, the judicial officer reduced the period of suspension otherwise arrived at to 15 weeks."
1917 – Dave Gallaher, New Zealand Rugby Union player died in World War I