The Springbok Sevens team have been rocked by the news that captain Kyle Brown will miss two matches because of an seemingly innocuous eye poke.
Brown was initially cited after making contact with Scotland's Michael Fedo as he tried to tackle him, and then was hauled over the coals at an IRB disciplinary hearing that went on until 1am, and banned for six games.
The initial ban was a shock, not only because of the ridiculous nature of the ban, for an act that was accidental, but also because it would have meant that Brown would play no further part in the Rugby World Cup.
But an appeal early on Sunday morning, which also lasted two hours, saw the ban reduced to two matches, as appeals officer Tim Gleeson agreed that the initial ban was wrong.
"Brown appeared before Appeal Officer Tim Gresson (New Zealand). Having reviewed the case and considered all the evidence, Mr Gresson was not persuaded that the Judicial Officer had erred in finding that Kyle Brown had committed an act of Foul Play on the basis that in attempting to tackle Scotland #2 high on the shoulder he should have been aware of the inherent risk of contacting the face, eye area and ultimately, eye, as occurred," an IRB release said.
"However, the Appeal Officer did consider that the offence was low-end reckless conduct and therefore determined the original minimum ordinary sanction of six matches was disproportionate. He applied the exceptional circumstances provision to reduce the sanction further from the Judicial Officer's six-match suspension (from a 12-week entry point) to two matches, noting that there had been contact with a vulnerable part of the body, being the eye, as a result of the reckless tackle, which necessitated an appropriate sanction.
"Brown is thus suspended for South Africa's Cup quarterfinal today and then their next match (either the Cup semifinal today or their first match at the next tournament being the World Games)"
The Blitzbokke ended day two as the top seeded side in the competition after winning all three games, posting 103 points and conceding none in their pool games, and will face Fiji at 11am (CAT, GMT+2) in the quarterfinals.