Friday, June 27, 2014
Earlier this week Wales prop Samson Lee was suspended for five weeks for a headbutt on Flip van der Merwe during the Springboks vs Wales second Test at the Mombela Stadium in Nelspruit. The incident occurred shortly before a Welsh try, but wasn't looked at.
Lee and lock Van Der Merwe came into contact at the bottom of a ruck just before Wales' Ken Owens try. If you watch the clip you can see it happen after the lineout, in front of referee Steve Walsh but as he later testified to, he didn't see it happen.
Springbok captain Victor Matfield brought the incident to the attention of Walsh after Owens went over for the try, but the referee outright rejected his claims, and opted not to take a look at the foul play, instead focussing on the try, which was awarded after multiple replays.
Van der Merwe left the field shortly afterwards to have a cut below his left eyebrow attended to.
Following the match Lee was cited for striking an opponent with the head, contrary to Law 10.4(a), and faced a disciplinary hearing where he was found guilty of the offence. A mid-range sanction was reduced by five weeks due to mitagating factors such as clean record, admission and remorse.
Lee explained that he didn't remember the incident, but later said that he was trying to clear himself from being held by Van der Merwe, with coach Warren Gatland adding that his conduct was clearly a product of his frustration.
He is suspended up to and including 21 September 2014. You can view a copy of the hearing's findings here, which goes through everything in detail.
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