Ed O’Donoghue found not guilty

A SANZAR Judicial Hearing has found Ed O’Donoghue of the Reds not guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (m) Acts contrary to good sportsmanship after he was issued a red card during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.

No further sanction has been imposed on the player and the red card has been removed from his record.

The incident occurred during the match between the Reds and Rebels at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on Saturday 17 May 2014. The referee for the match, Steve Walsh, on advice from the television match official, issued a red card for the incident which occurred in the 79th minute.

The SANZAR Judicial Hearing held via video conference on Monday 19 May 2014 at 5pm AEST, 9am SAST, 7pm NZST and was heard by Jannie Lubbe SC who was assisted by former professional player, Paul Thomson.

In his finding, Advocate Lubbe ruled the following:

After careful consideration of all of the evidence, which included written and verbal submissions from the player, the player’s representative Martin Martin QC, Scott Higginbotham and match officials, I have found Mr O’Donoghue not guilty.

My finding is supported by these witness statements, in conjunction with medical evidence supplied by the Rebels which indicated no damage had been inflicted upon Mr Higginbotham and furthermore, the player stated that he made no complaint to the referee.

The act of eye gouging generally triggers a reaction from the victim which was not evident in this case and helped support my finding.

Eye gouging is certainly a very serious and unacceptable offence in the game of rugby and any allegation warrants a thorough investigation.

In this instance, having thoroughly reviewed video evidence from numerous angles and the considering witness testimony, I am satisfied that Mr O’Donoghue has not committed the act in question.

No further sanction has been imposed on the player and the red card has been removed from his record.

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  1. DavidS


    May 19, 2014 at 7:19 pm


    I am like

    I have no words…

  2. avatar


    May 19, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    If it was a sa player, he would have been banned for a year

  3. avatar


    May 19, 2014 at 9:53 pm

    No problem.
    If Higgenbotham testified that there was no gouge, then there was no gouge.

    Surely then RC on the field was enough punishment for the fingers in the face.

  4. avatar

    No surprises really not sure WTF they were thinking but the video shows it all.

    Hope Deysel gets similar love as his opponent forgave him

  5. avatar

    Welshbok die Brandwag

    May 20, 2014 at 11:37 am

    @Mug Punters Organisation of South Africa:

    Forget that dude, the pope has a greater chance of leaving catholicism than Deysel getting sismilar love.

    Remember, if Deysel gets forgiven, it strenghens the Sharks significantly in the next games ahead, of course would never allow that, like EVER.

  6. avatar

    Welshbok die Brandwag

    May 20, 2014 at 11:38 am

    of course THE IRB would never allow that, like EVER

  7. DavidS


    May 20, 2014 at 11:55 am

    The little trans tasman brotherhood of little anglo saxons…

  8. avatar


  9. DavidS


    May 21, 2014 at 2:43 pm

  10. avatar


    May 21, 2014 at 2:50 pm

    So because the player (Higgers) didn’t react or act like some soccer pussy, the guy gets off.

  11. avatar


    May 21, 2014 at 8:51 pm


    The way I interpret it, is that Higgonbotham testified that there was no eye gouge. A simple case of something that happened different in actuality, than how it appears to have happened on video.

    The player did not exactly got off.
    He was red-carded and his team were penalized on the field.

    If there was no eye gouge then what would be the purpose of additional punishments?

  12. avatar

    Cheetah Glory

    May 21, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    Rugby HAS to stay away from the element that ruined soccer.

    Punish he who does, no he who reacts

    In the same vein refs still blow marginal obstruction yet the dumbass maul is allowed free reign no matter how far the truck gets away from the trailer.

    Equally annoying

  13. avatar

    Cheetah Glory

    May 21, 2014 at 9:50 pm

    and before you lambaste me – I do like a good maul, but the second it goes backwards and the second it splinters it should be scrum to the other team.

    Otherwise its just obstruction – no different to holding a player back by his jersey.

  14. avatar


    May 22, 2014 at 9:07 am


    Correct, the finger did not end up damaging his eye and he did not complain to the ref, but that his fingers were in the area of the eyes deliberately is quite obvious. It is a big no-no in rugby and it is something he could have avoided doing but did not. A deliberate act, whether it inflicted injury or not, should be punished.

    That is my opinion on this.

  15. DavidS


    May 22, 2014 at 11:20 am

    The IRB ruling is that ANY face contact is red carded. One has to wonder why the player affected did not right there and then tell the ref it was an accident?


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