Vodacom Bulls hooker Schalk Brits has to serve a five-week suspension for his role in the punch-up with Sharks counterpart Akker van der Merwe.
Van der Merwe was given a three-week ban by Sanzaar on Monday. Although Brits was given a 4-week ban, the Bulls have a bye in the period, thus extending his ban by an extra week.
A Sanzaar judicial committee appeal hearing on Tuesday found Brits guilty of contravening ‘Law 9.12: A player must not physically abuse anyone’ after he was issued with a red card at Kings Park. The incident occurred in the 58th minute of the match.
The hearing, held via video conference, was conducted by Helen Morgan, David Croft and former Bok prop Lawrence Sephaka.
In her finding, chairperson Morgan ruled the following: ‘Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player and submissions from his legal representative, Gert van der Merwe, the judicial committee upheld the red card under Law 9.12.
‘With respect to sanction, the judicial committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of six weeks due to the World Rugby instructions that dictate any incident of foul play involving contact with the head must start at a mid-range level. The evidence demonstrated the player contacted the opposing player’s head with more than one punch.
‘However, taking into account mitigating factors including the player’s demonstrated remorse, extensive experience, the fact the player’s actions were in self-defence and that the player has pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity, the judicial committee reduced the suspension by two weeks.
‘The judicial committee was conscious of the fact that the player was not the instigator of the incident, but due to the player’s previous two periods of suspension for striking offences, the judicial committee were unable to provide the full 50% discount for the sanction. This leads to a sanction of four weeks.
‘The player is therefore suspended from all forms of the game for four weeks, up to and including 4 May.’
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