Ryan Wilson is free to play in Scotland’s crucial Six Nations matches against Ireland and Italy after an independent disciplinary committee cleared him of eye gouging during Saturday’s Calcutta Cup clash.
Wilson had been cited for an alleged incident with England’s Nathan Hughes in the 37th minute of Scotland’s 25-13 victory at Murrayfield, but the committee felt that the offence did not warrant a red card and therefore did not apply a sanction.
In a statement, the disciplinary committee said that while Wilson had made contact with Hughes’ eye, it accepted medical evidence that due to a pre-existing injury, Wilson’s fingers were involuntarily bent towards the eye of Hughes and therefore the contact was “reckless [rather than intentional], light and fleeting.”
The news that Wilson’s citing had not been upheld came hours after England and Scotland both escaped disciplinary action over an alleged scuffle in the Murrayfield tunnel ahead of last Saturday’s Calcutta Cup involving Wilson and England’s Owen Farrell.
“The disciplinary committee,” the statement read, “found that the player [Wilson] had committed an act of foul play in that he had made contact [with two of his fingers] with the eye area [i.e. ‘anywhere in close proximity to the eye’ according to World Rugby’s regulation 17] of his opponent.
“However, the disciplinary committee accepted medical evidence adduced on the player’s behalf to the effect that, due to a pre-existing injury, two of his fingers [his fourth and little finger on his right hand] were involuntarily in a bent or hooked position.
“The disciplinary committee also considered that the contact with the eye area had been reckless [rather than intentional], light and fleeting, and had come about as a result of the player’s attempts to grab his opponent’s shirt during an off-the-ball scuffle with his opponent.
“After careful consideration, the disciplinary committee did not conclude that the foul play had warranted a red card, and the citing was not upheld.”