Adam Byrnes has described New South Wales Waratahs centre Tom Carter as a disgrace for threatening his career by making the allegation of eye-gouging.
The Melbourne Rebels lock was on Thursday cleared of the charge after appealing against a sensational 10-week ban handed down three weeks ago.
The SANZAR judiciary admitted there was no conclusive evidence that Byrnes intentionally made contact with Carter’s eye during the round-two match on March 2.
Having earned redemption, Byrnes launched a scathing attack on Carter’s efforts to have him rubbed out for gouging, which included a detailed written report to the SANZAR judicial panel.
“To be falsely accused with such a slanderous tag as Tom has said is extremely poor form,” Byrnes said. “I didn’t do anything. The public perception has not been nice and it has taken a toll, more so on my family than myself.
“I would like to say that Tom played very well against us and bounced back from criticism he had received during the week. I give him credit as a player, but to carry on in terms of bringing another player down and potentially ruining their livelihood, it is a very poor quality to have as a human being.
“You can hear on the mike that he makes the complaint, ‘Adam Byrnes just eye-gouged me’, firstly to Daniel Halangahu and then the ref.
“I understand that in the heat of battle things are said. But to follow that through in a written statement and go through this process is a disgrace.
“I think that is bringing the game into disrepute, and it is the type of character that I would never like to portray.
“I don’t know the bloke, But to carry on like he has is very poor quality.”
Byrnes is off contract at the end of the year and has been unable to negotiate with clubs while attempting to clear his name in the past three weeks. He said the very suggestion of eye-gouging has had an impact on his appeal with recruiters and threatened his future prospects.
“I don’t hide from the fact I like to play hard and tough,” Byrnes said. “But I always do it within the laws. I have never had a red card in 20 years.
“My public perception is something I can’t help, but when people are saying things like this and you are up for contract negotiations like I am, it can affect your career.”
The injured Byrnes will make his return against the Tahs in Sydney on April 21.
by Buford Balony