A SANZAR Judicial Hearing has found Eben Etzebeth of South Africa guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (a) Punching or Striking after he was cited during the match at the weekend between Australia and South Africa in The Rugby Championship.
Etzebeth has been suspended for 2 weeks up to and inclusive of Monday 24 September 2012.
The incident occurred in the 25th minute of the match between Australia and South Africa at Patersons Stadium in Perth on Saturday 8th September 2012.
The SANZAR Judicial Hearing held via video conference on 10th September was heard by Nigel Hampton QC.
In his finding, Mr Hampton ruled the following:
I was satisfied that this was not an attempt just to push the opposing player away by using his head without contact being made. The player brought his forehead forward and downward with a degree of speed and force into the nose area of the opposing player making contact with that player. This was a deliberate act done as a part of an episode of escalating “tit for tat” pushing and shoving between the two players. As to sanction, intentional striking with the head into the face of another is not to be countenanced under any circumstances.
Statement from Springbok coach, Heyneke Meyer, on the two-week suspension handed to lock Eben Etzebeth:
“We take note of the decision by SANZAR to suspend Eben for two weeks for contravening Law 10.4 (a) Punching or Striking after he was cited during our match at the weekend against Australia in The Castle Rugby Championship.
“Losing Eben is a big setback in a very important week of our preparation, but I have the utmost confidence in the players that are in New Zealand with us. We will only make a decision on a possible replacement later in the week.
“We will not appeal the decision.”