Brits given 4-week ban for punch-up, Bulls to appeal
Cape Town - In a scarcely believable sequence of events, Bulls hooker Schalk Brits has been given a FOUR-week ban following his red card against the Sharks in Durban on Saturday.
Earlier on Monday, it was confirmed that Sharks hooker Akker van der Merwe had been given a THREE-week ban for his role in the altercation.
While both players were caught on camera throwing punches, Van der Merwe was clearly the instigator with a head-butt, followed by a series of punches landed to Brits' head.
Brits, who boasts an exemplary disciplinary record, had the decency to apologise to the referee and his team-mates while Van der Merwe was already halfway to the changing room when shown his red card (see around the 3:00 mark in the video below).
A Bulls representative confirmed to Sport24 that Brits' SANZAAR Foul Play Committee hearing had taken place on Monday morning and that the result was a four-week ban.
That committee comprised Adam Casselden SC (chairperson) as well as Eroni Clarke and former Springbok back Stefan Terblanche.
According to reports, Blue Bulls Rugby Union President Willem Strauss was incensed at the sanction, sending a broadcast message on a WhatsApp group which read: “Schalk 4 weeks, Akker 3 weeks - absolutely ridiculous.”
The SANZAAR decision will no doubt further frustrate and baffle supporters who have lost faith in the governing body in recent times.
The Bulls were understandably quick to appeal the decision and that hearing will take place on Tuesday at 07:00 SA time in front of a new three-person judicial committee of Helen Morgan (chairperson), David Croft and former Springbok prop, Lawrence Sephaka.
Confusing matters somewhat is the fact that should Brits be banned for four weeks, he'll only miss three matches - at home against the Jaguares (Saturday, April 6) and Reds (Saturday, April 13) and away to the Stormers (Saturday, April 27) - as the Bulls will enjoy a bye on the April 19/20 Easter weekend.
Although Van der Merwe's ban appears shorter in week terms, he will also miss three matches - against the Lions in Johannesburg (Friday, April 5), the Jaguares at home (Saturday, April 13) and Reds (home, Friday, April 19).