England forward George Burgess insists he didn’t intentionally gouge the eye of New Zealand captain Dallin Watene-Zelezniak after receiving a four-match suspension.
The 26-year-old was given a Grade D charge of ‘behaviour contrary to the true spirit of the game (gouging)’ after the game at Anfield on Sunday.
The international disciplinary panel found Burgess guilty, and the South Sydney Rabbitohs front-rower was fined £500.
Burgess tweeted: “I want to make it completely clear to everyone that it was never my intention to ever gauge anyone.
“It is not in my makeup as a rugby league player and never has been. I sincerely apologise to anyone who thinks bad of me after seeing the footage.
“I always set out to be a positive role model for the younger generation and I will continue to do so.
“I accept my punishment but I will never accept that I gouged a fellow player’s eye intentionally. I have too much respect for the players I play against and with.”
The suspension will rule him out of this Sunday’s third and final Test at Elland Road, as well as the 2019 NRL season.