Mauro Bergamasco has apologised to Lee Byrne after he was found guilty of eye-gouging the Wales full-back during Italy's RBS 6 Nations defeat at the Millennium Stadium.
The flanker was handed a 13-week ban after pleading guilty to deliberately poking Byrne in the eye towards the end of the Azzurri’s 47-8 thrashing in Cardiff last Saturday.
“I apologise to the player in question, Lee Byrne, to my supporters and my fellow team-mates, to my club Stade Francais, and the Italian Rugby Federation,” Bergamasco said on his website www.mbergamasco.it.
“The gesture I made, although serious, did not intend to cause any damage.
“I am aware that what happened does not reflect the values and principles of rugby, and sport in general and I pledge to show my commitment on the field as soon as possible.”
The ban will start on March 3, the date the 28-year-old is expected to recover from a shoulder injury. He will not be able to play until June 2.