Leinster have confirmed they will launch an appeal after flanker Shane Jennings was hit with a 12-week ban for eye-gouging London Irish lock Nick Kennedy.
The Heineken Cup champions expressed their “shock” and disappointment that Jennings was found guilty and banned until January 6.
Kennedy had reacted furiously at the time and accused Jennings of poking him in the eye - but later claimed to have over-reacted and told the disciplinary hearing the act was “not intentional”.
The Leinster statement read: “Leinster Rugby is surprised and extremely disappointed with today’s ruling even though there was clear evidence from the opposition player that the act was not intentional.
“The ERC disciplinary committee appears to have found that Shane Jennings was careless with his actions, which is a shock to us.
“Shane has an impeccable record and a strong leadership role within the squad as our vice-captain and we will be appealing this decision.”
Jennings is currently banned for eight matches, starting with Saturday’s Heineken Cup trip to Brive and including the back-to-back European encounters with the Scarlets.
The Jennings case is the first high-profile incident since the International Rugby Board vowed during the summer to clamp down on the “heinous” offence of eye-gouging and eradicate it from the sport.
The IRB launched a review of its disciplinary procedures and wrote to all judicial officials following a spate of notorious incidents, including Schalk Burger’s clash with Lions winger Luke Fitzgerald in the second Test.
The Lions felt Burger got off lightly with an eight-week suspension when Munster flanker Alan Quinlan was banned for 12-weeks for a clash with Leinster’s Leo Cullen in last season’s Heineken Cup semi-final.
Bath flanker Andy Beattie was banned for three weeks following his red card for stamping against Ulster last Friday night.