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Why did Schalk Brits get 4 week ban & instigator, Van der Merwe got 3? Here’s why.

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Photo by Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Former South Africa, Saracens and now Bulls hooker Schalk Brits was involved in an old school punch up with Sharks hooker on the weekend when the Bulls faced the Sharks in Super Rugby action.

The Sharks front rower appears to have instigated the brawl when he bored head first into Brits on the floor in a ruck. It then kicked off.

As you can see from the video above, even once the ball had left the breakdown several punches were exchanged. The referee gave both players their marching orders.

Both players have since faced disciplinary hearings for contravening Law 9.12: ‘A player must not physically abuse anyone. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to punching or striking with the hand or arm.’

Both players received different hearings:

Akker van Der Merwe:

“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,” their statement read.

“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.”

Schalk Brits:

“With respect to sanction the Judicial 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. The evidence demonstrated the Player contacted the opposing Player’s head with more than one punch.

“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 2 weeks.

“The Judicial Committee was conscious of the fact that the Player was not the instigator of the incident, but due to the Player’s previous two periods of suspension for striking offences, the Judicial Committee were unable to provide the full 50% discount for the sanction. This leads to a sanction of 4 weeks.”

So, Akker van Der Merwe ( the instigator ) got 3 weeks. Brits, even though acting in self defence got 4 weeks.

Van Der Merwe pleaded guilty to the charge and received a 50% “good behaviour discount’ so his ban was reduced from 6 weeks to 3.

Why?

Brits would also have received the same reduction on his ban as he too admitted guilt but 2 previous disciplinary issues cost him this ‘discount’.

Brits had a run in back in 2013 with his Saracens teammate Owen Farrell in the Lions warm up match v Barbarians where he was charged with striking and banned for 3 weeks.

He also was charged with striking back in 2016 for striking Gloucester prop Nick Wood, receiving a 3 week ban for the below incident.


So while it may appear not to make sense, it does.

It was great to see that despite the red mist and on-field issues, both players who are vying for a RWC Springboks jersey could enjoy each others company over a beer post-match.


Super Rugby

Former English International to join the Highlanders

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English first-five Freddie Burns will join the Highlanders for the 2023 edition of DHL Super Rugby Pacific. Burns, currently playing for Leicester Tigers in the English Premiership has agreed terms with the Highlanders, and with the support of Leicester, will land in New Zealand prior to the first round.

The 32-year-old Burns will bring with him a wealth of experience having started his first-class career with Gloucester back in 2010. His first turn at Leicester was between 2014-2017 before three seasons with Bath and Burns has over 200 appearances in the Premiership to his name. In 2021 he had a short sojourn in Japan before returning to Leicester for the 2022 season.

A former England U20 representative he represented the senior side five times most notably debuting against the All Blacks in 2012, replacing Owen Farrell, in their 38-21 victory.

A prolific goal kicker and tactically sound first-five, who can also play fullback, he was the toast of Leicester when he dropkicked the winning goal for the Tigers against Saracens in the 2022 Gallagher Premiership final.

Burns is looking forward to the experience.

“As a young lad I grew up watching Super rugby in the early hours of morning. To have the opportunity to represent such a prestigious club as the Highlanders in the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season is a huge honour. I look forward to getting started and adding to the group both on and off the field”

Highlanders Head Coach Clarke Dermody has welcomed the arrival of the experienced playmaker.

“Having a player of Freddie’s calibre available to us in such a crucial position is a real boost for the squad. Last year we were exposed at 10 due to a run of injuries and while we covered the situation, we were asking a lot of Sam Gilbert and Vili Koroi who are not regular starting first-fives. Freddie’s arrival will provide us with that extra insurance against that scenario playing out again in 2023”.

Burns will be the second international back to be added to Dermody’s 2023 squad with Argentinian outside back Martin Bogado also set to play in Highlanders colours.

 

ENDS

Content & Images from – Highlanders Rugby


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Super Rugby

BLUES PRE-SEASON FIXTURES TO BE MOVED

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The Blues, alongside Mahurangi Rugby Club have made the decision to move their pre-season event – Blues Fest ’23 – away from Mahurangi Rugby Club due to the condition of the field.

The recent bad weather around the Blues region has meant ground staff haven’t been able to work on the field and after a check last week the tough decision was made to move the two games and nib Blues open training session to a new venue.

A final decision on a new location for Blues Fest ’23 is yet to be made.

Blues CEO, Andrew Hore, said the club were gutted to make the tough call.

“As a club we were getting excited to head north for the pre-season,” said Hore.

“Unfortunately, the weather has conspired against us in recent weeks and when we met with Mahurangi Rugby Club on Friday, both parties agreed the field hadn’t responded how we would’ve hoped, and the call was made to move the event.”

Mahurangi Council of Clubs Delegate, Sam Ryburn, said the club were taking a philosophical view over the change.

“We were very much looking forward to hosting the Blues at Mahurangi for Blues Fest ’23,” said Ryburn.

“There’s not a lot we can do, both The Blues and our club explored all the options before coming to this decision, but we’re hoping to continue our relationship with the Blues and look at future options for hosting pre-season matches.”

The Blues still intend to host the entire Blues Fest ’23 programme including a ‘Game of Three Halves’ between North Harbour, Northland and Auckland development players, a nib Blues women open training session and the Blues men vs Hurricanes pre-season match.

A decision on where this will be held will be communicated in the coming days.

Content & Images from – Blues Rugby


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Super Rugby

Richie Mo’unga to depart Crusaders after 2023

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GettyImages 1403633056

Mo’unga debuted for the Crusaders on 27 February 2016, facing the Chiefs at home and scoring 13 points. He made the starting line-up for the rest of the season.

 

“This team has given so much to me as a rugby player and as a person, and in return I’ve always wanted to give my everything to the team both on and off the field, to help us succeed, and to be the best environment for players,” Mo’unga said.

 

Asked about his star first-five’s departure after the 2023 season, Crusaders Head Coach Scott Robertson said Mo’unga was “a special man”.

 

“If there’s one player that continues to leave their mark on this team, that’d be Richie Mo’unga,” Robertson said.

 

“Through his performances in the biggest games, the biggest moments – he stood up, which Crusaders do. He’s a special man, a local boy, pride of the community, and there’s no doubt about it – Richie can play.

 

“When Richie is on, the team is on. He brings out the best from all the players. For me, he is one of the most influential Super Rugby players ever – how he plays the game, his ability to score points consistently year after year in those crucial moments.

 

“The biggest thing for me with Richie is how much he cares about the team and the club, about the players he plays with and the people he plays for. He means a lot to the Crusaders and we wish him all the best. There’ll be a time to properly say goodbye to him at the end of the season, but for now we’re all focused on the job in front of us.”

 

Richie Mo’unga and the Crusaders kick off their 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season against the Chiefs on 24 February at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch. Memberships are available now.

Content & Images from – Crusaders Rugby


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