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Rugby player cleared of eye gouging


Friday November 26th 2010

A Kent rugby player has been cleared of gouging an opponent's eye during a match, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) confirmed.

Clarence Harding was left blind in his right eye after the Kent County Cup tie between his side Gravesend, and Maidstone in January.

Matt Iles, of Maidstone RFC, was found not guilty of "making contact with the eye or eye area" of Mr Harding during the match at Mote Park, but the RFU ruled that the injury had been caused deliberately by a Maidstone player.

In a statement, RFU disciplinary officer Judge Jeff Blackett said: "The injury to Clarence Harding was caused by a finger or fingers inserted into the eye, causing a laceration.

"Clarence Harding immediately alleged an eye gouge which he would not have done had it been an accident by one of his own players. A serious act of foul play has been committed by a Maidstone player."

Judge Blackett said officials were unable to determine who was responsible and will place their findings before the RFU company secretary and legal officer.

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Copyright © Press Association 2010

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