Rugby Union


Byrnes spared fine over attack

Melbourne Rebels second-rower Adam Byrnes has escaped a $5000 fine for launching a verbal attack on Waratahs centre Tom Carter in March.

Byrnes must still pay $2500 in costs to SANZAR but had the original $5000 penalty for calling Carter a ''disgrace'' quashed on appeal.

The protracted stoush began when Carter accused Byrnes of ''eye-gouging'' him during the teams's round two Super Rugby match at Melbourne's AAMI Park. Byrnes was found not guilty of foul play on appeal but was fined $7500 two months later for making a ''sustained and serious verbal attack'' on Carter after talking about the impact of the incident to a Sydney newspaper.

He appealed the decision and must now pay the costs portion to SANZAR within the week.

Meanwhile, Wallabies star James O'Connor has recovered from liver damage but is battling a hamstring injury ahead of the Rebels' clash with Super Rugby champions Queensland Reds on June 29 in Melbourne.

O'Connor was given the green light from his specialist to resume contact training with scans confirming his lacerated liver, suffered last month playing against the Waratahs, had healed well.

with AAP