Johannesburg - A high school rugby player from Mookgophong (Naboomspruit) who knocked a referee unconscious by headbutting him has been banned from rugby for three years, according to a report on Thursday.
A Blue Bulls Rugby Union (BBRU) disciplinary committee adjudicated the matter in Pretoria on Monday night and banned the 17-year-old matric boy for ten years, of which seven were suspended, Beeld reported.
The boy, a pupil at Hans Strijdom High School, pleaded guilty to assaulting referee Chris de Beer, 37, earlier this month during a match in Mookgophong.
De Beer, a member of the Blue Bulls Rugby Referee's Society, was unconscious for some time, and had to be treated by paramedics on the field.
Louis Nel, president of the BBRU, said the school boy had been "banned from anything associated with rugby".
He said the committee had taken two extenuating circumstances into consideration, namely the fact that it was the boy's first offence, and secondly that his mother was terminally- ill.
De Beer said on Wednesday that he was very disappointed with the outcome of the hearing, and that he had resigned from the referee's society.
"The punishment is ridiculous, and it will result in referees being increasingly exposed to this kind of violence."