Bulls captain Flip van der Merwe has copped a three-week ban for punching a Waratahs player.
Following Saturday's Vodacom Super Rugby match in Sydney, Van der Merwe was cited for hitting Waratahs prop Paddy Ryan in the face. On Wednesday, a Sanzar judicial hearing found Van der Merwe guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking.
While this offence typically results in a five-week suspension, the judiciary ruled that due to the player's good character, lengthy professional playing career and his relatively clean disciplinary record, the sentence is reduced to three weeks.
Van der Merwe's absence may result in Victor Matfield assuming the captaincy in the coming game against the Force.
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