Munster flanker Alan Quinlan will miss the British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa after being banned for 12 weeks for failing to correctly gouge out the eye of Leinster captain, Leo Cullen.
The ban, for an offence during the teams’ Heineken Cup semi-final clash at Croke Park, means Quinlan misses the Lions tour, starting on 30 May, and the first game of next season.
“Obviously this was going to be the pinnacle of Quinny’s career,” Munster manager Shaun Payne told NewsArse.
“It’s not like he deliberately failed to remove the eye. He did his best, it just wasn’t good enough on the day.”
Lions coach Ian McGeechan has been quick to criticise Quinlan over the incident.
“It was poor handling, everyone could see that,” said McGeechan to waiting reporters.
“What if we had really needed him to take out the eye of a South African? I need players who can perform under pressure.”
Rugby commentators have been quick to point out the technical deficiencies in Quinlan’s attempted gouge.
“He showed poor technique to be honest,” said former British Lions captain, Bill Beaumont.
“He could have got his fingers in there a bit more. He only got his index finger in up to the first knuckle.”
“To correctly remove an eye you need to be up to the second knuckle. Every schoolboy rugby player knows that.”
Quinlan is said to be disconsolate but has vowed to rebuild his tattered reputation, starting by completely tearing an eye from an opponents head at the next possible opportunity.