The culprit was never 'fingered' and the citing was subsequently not upheld, but rugby365.com can now, exclusively, reveal strong evidence that the face of Springbok flank Heinrich Brüssow was indeed attacked during his team's 10-15 loss to Ireland last Saturday.
Scottish citing commissioner Douglas Hunter declined to cite any Irish player after the match, despite having the same evidence at his disposal as this website - the picture that proves that Brüssow did indeed suffer damage around his eye area.
However, after spending a substantial part of Monday watching the match video at length, Hunter was unable to pinpoint the possible culprit - who will now escape in anonymity for eternity.
The Irish Rugby Football Union, not to mention the Irish media, were at pains to put out the view that no eye-gouging took place, but this evidence could possibly suggest otherwise.
In a statement issued this week the IRFU spoke of a "number of referrals" made by South Africa against Ireland players - none of which were upheld by the independent citing commissioner, Hunter, who was present at the game at Croke Park.- Rugby365
"The Ireland management is, however, very disappointed that the name of an Ireland player was subsequently associated with eye gouging in the media as a result of one of these unsubstantiated referrals," read the statement.
The IRFU also suggested the Boks' referrals were not "material".
rugby365.com can also reveal that the Springbok camp did not name any Irish player in the alleged eye-gouging saga, but merely asked the citing commissioner to look at the match video for evidence, as they are entitled to do.
That is what Hunter did, but he was unable to identify the culprit.
But Hunter, who had at his disposal the same picture attached to this article, would not have spent such a large part of the day looking for evidence if he did not believe there was reason to try and identify a possible culprit.
And the manner in which the Irish media tried to dismiss the case, and Brüssow's claims that he had possibly been gouged, should be seen in the light of the outcry after Schalk Burger's eight-week ban for 'reckless' behaviour in putting his hand in the face of Ireland's British and Irish wing Luke Fitzgerald in the first minute of the second Test in June.Burger, his team's only try-scorer on Saturday, was roundly booed at Croke Park - before the match when the team line-ups were announced and after scoring his first-half try.
At the time of Burger's incident in the Lions Series, Judicial Officer Alan Hudson specifically cleared the Bok flank of eye-gouging, but found him guilty of "committing an act contrary to good sportsmanship by making contact with the face in the eye area" of Fitzgerald.
"I do not find this to be an intentional act on the part of Burger. In my view his actions were clearly reckless," said Hudson at the time of the incident.