James Mortimer 05.Mar.2012Getty Images
The ban was passed down with Tully recognising Byrnes prior clean record, meaning that the entry point for the offence – 12 weeks – was downgraded to ten weeks.
The match between the Rebels and the Waratahs was certainly fiery, and it was indicative of the heated nature of the Australian Conference derby when NSW captain Daniel Halangahu reported that Carter had been eye-gouged by Byrnes.
A four-and-a-half judicial hearing was held, and the final result meant that Byrnes will not be eligible to play until week 13 of Investec Super Rugby.
While the Rebels argued there was no intent or real evidence, medical reports confirmed that Carter had received a minor scratch, with Waratahs doctor Luke Inman also backing up that there had been facial contact.
The Melbourne Rebels announced a few hours later they would appeal the decision.
“(The) Rebels share Byrnes' disappointment with this finding and will fully support him throughout the appeal process," the franchise said in a statement.
"The club would also like to make it clear that despite media reports, there is no suggestion that Byrnes engaged in any eye gouging. We believe any contact made was absolutely accidental and without intent."