Sharks and Springbok hooker Akker van der Merwe has been banned for three weeks after his fist fight with Bulls hooker Schalk Brits.

Van Der Merwe pleaded guilty.

He contravened Law 9.12: A player must not physically abuse anyone, after he was red carded against the Bulls in Durban on Saturday.

He is suspended from all forms of the game up and until April 19 2019.

The SANZAAR Foul Play Review Committee of Adam Casselden SC (chairperson), Stefan Terblanche and Eroni Clarke assessed the case.

In his finding, Casselden ruled the following:

“Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player and submissions from his legal representative, Attie Heyns, the Foul Play Review Committee upheld the Red Card under Law 9.12.”

“With respect to sanction the Foul Play Review Committee deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of six weeks due to the World Rugby instructions that dictate any incident of foul play involving contact with the head must start at a mid-range level. The evidence demonstrated the player contacted the opposing player’s head with multiple punches. However, taking into account mitigating factors including the player’s good judicial record and the fact the player has pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity, the Foul Play Review Committee reduced the suspension to three weeks.”

“The player is therefore suspended for three weeks, up to and including April 19, 2019.”

Van Der Merwe will miss the matches against the Lions, Jaguares and Reds.

It is a massive loss for the Natal side as Craig Burden is out injured and Chilliboy Ralepele waiting on his results on his doping test.

Written by Carl Coertzen

Image Credit: Gallo Images