PRETORIA – The Bulls have resigned themselves to the fact that they will be without the services of Schalk Brits for four matches following his Sanzaar disciplinary hearing on Tuesday morning.
Brits has received a four-week ban for his role in the infamous breakdown brawl with his Sharks counterpart Akker van der Merwe in Durban over the weekend.
Van der Merwe, who instigated the punch-up when he head-butted Brits before unleashing a flurry of blows on the Bulls hooker, only copped a three-week suspension.
Brits would have only had to sit out two weeks of rugby had he confessed his sins like Van der Merwe.
But instead, Brits challenged the red card resulting in the case being heard by the disciplinary committee.
His rugby past came back to haunt him with indiscretions from 2013 and 2016 playing for the Barbarians and Saracens respectively serving as blemishes against his record.
Brits will miss the Bulls’ matches against the Jaguares, Reds, Stormers and Waratahs after he failed in his appeal.
Chairperson Helen Morgan said the committee decided to uphold the red card and “deemed the act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of 6 weeks”.
“The evidence demonstrated the player contacted the opposing player’s head with more than one punch,” Morgan said in a SANZAAR statement.
“However, taking into account mitigating factors including the player’s demonstrated remorse, extensive experience, the fact the player’s actions were in self-defence and the player has pleaded guilty at the first available opportunity, the judicial committee reduced the suspension by two weeks.”
Morgan said the committee acknowledged that Brits was not the instigator but his previous suspensions for striking offences counted against him.
A Bulls spokesperson said the franchise would abide by the Sanzaar disciplinary committee’s ruling.
“Even though the four-week ban is a bitter pill to swallow, the Blue Bulls Company fully respects and abides by the rules and governing of our beautiful game,” the spokesperson said.
“The rules are in place to make the game safer, not only for the players on the field but also for the younger generations watching and learning.”
While Brits’ suspension is a blow to the Bulls they would be able to rely on Corniel Els and Jaco Visagie to step into the void.@ockertde