Was it a ban or not?
DISCIPLINARY UPDATE: The mystery surrounding Bulls and Springbok hooker Schalk Brits’ disciplinary hearing deepened on Monday.
Officially Brits will appear before a SANZAAR disciplinary hearing on Tuesday.
However, reports have emerged that suggested Brits was ‘offered’ a four-week ban for his role in the punch-up with fellow Bok hooker Armand van der Merwe in the Bulls’ 19-16 Super Rugby win over the Sharks in Durban at the weekend.
Both players, Brits and Van der Merwe, were issued with reds cards by New Zealand referee Mike Fraser.
Van der Merwe pleaded guilty before a hearing on Monday and was slapped with a three-week ban – reduced from a ‘mid-range entry point’ of six weeks, due to mitigating factors, including the Sharks hooker’s good judicial record and the fact the player has pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity.
According to a report on the SuperSport website, Brits will ‘appeal’ the four-week ban and the Bulls feel ‘aggrieved’ about the discrepancy in sanctions offered to the players for the very same offence.
The report claims Blue Bulls Rugby Union President Willem Strauss sent a broadcast message on a WhatsApp group which read: “Schalk 4 weeks, Akker 3 weeks – absolutely ridiculous.”
This is in stark contrast to the official media release issued by SANZAAR, which read: “Following initial consideration by the SANZAAR foul play review committee, Schalk Brits of the Bulls will appear at a SANZAAR judicial committee hearing after being red carded for alleged foul play during a Super Rugby match at the weekend.”
Either way, Brits will know on Tuesday if he will receive the same three-week ban issued to Van der Merwe, or perhaps a longer or shorter ban.
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* Meanwhile the Bulls received some good news ahead of their Round Eight encounter with the Jaguares in Pretoria this coming Saturday.
Marco van Staden, Roelof Smit and Jaco Visagie played in a domestic warm-up match against Boland and will be available for selection.
Rudolph Snyman, Nic de Jager and Duncan Matthews have also completed their rehabilitation and will join training this week – but will not be available for selection against the Jaguares.
Lastly, scans have revealed that prop Dayan van der Westhuizen’s knee injury – suffered against the Chiefs a fortnight ago – is a Grade Two tear.
He will be sidelined for six weeks.
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