Akker van der Merwe was sanctioned for foul play on Saturday. Photo: Gerhard Duraan/BackpagePix

DURBAN – The Sanzaar Foul Play Review Committee has accepted a guilty plea from Sharks hooker Armand 'Akker' van der Merwe of the Sharks who was red-carded during a Super Rugby Match at the Weekend.

Van der Merwe has been suspended from all forms of the game for 3 weeks, up to and including 19 April 2019.

The incident occurred in the 58th minute of the match between the Sharks and Bulls played at Johnson Kings Park in Durban on Saturday.

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

In his finding, Foul Play Review Committee Chairman Adam Casselden SC 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 6 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. 

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"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 3 weeks."

"The player is therefore suspended for 3 weeks, up to and including 19 April 2019.”  

African News Agency (ANA)