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Tuesday Mar 24, 2015

Bismarck du Plessis banned for a month for kicking Michael Leitch in the face

Bismarck du Plessis banned for a month for kicking Michael Leitch in the face

In what was a farcical first half in the rain of Durban, three players were red carded within twenty minutes as the Sharks and the Chiefs played out a tense Super Rugby round 6 contest. Arguably the worst of the three was this uncalled for kick to the face, that resulted in a month ban.

Just minutes after Chiefs hooker Hika Elliot was red carded for charging into a ruck with his shoulder, Springbok hooker Du Plessis was held by number eight Michael Leitch on the floor. In the process of releasing his foot, he lashed out, kicking Leitch in the face.

Referee Angus Gardner, who had a tough day out, had little choice but to send Du Plessis from the field. He has since received a four-week suspension from SANZAR.

“The player’s kick was pre-meditated, intentional and unprovoked,” explained SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden. “It was reckless, that is the player knew (or should have known) there was a risk of committing an act of foul play.

“In my opinion the offence was a grave one and the possibility of serious injury existed.

“The Chiefs’ No. 8 was in a vulnerable position on the ground. He did not see the kick, even if he had, he had limited means available to him, given the position of his arms and body, to protect himself from the player’s actions.

“Whilst the player claims he was frustrated by Chiefs’ No. 8 not releasing him from the tackle earlier that does not, in my opinion, entitle him to retaliate by kicking his opponent in the area of the head with a studded boot. The head is of course sacrosanct.”

Casseldon went on to state that Du Plessis has a very clean record, considering his long playing career and his only blemish being a suspension in 2008 for a dangerous tackle.

“The player has played professional rugby for approximately 12 years. He has played 77 Test matches for South Africa, 125 Super Rugby matches and in the order of 47 Currie Cup matches. Apart from a three week suspension in 2008 the player’s disciplinary record is unblemished.

“This is his first red card offence in a lengthy first class playing career [note: the sending off against New Zealand, from two yellow cards, was expunged from his record when it was found to be the incorrect referee decision].

“Having regard to the above mitigating factors and the overall culpability of the player’s offending, I was satisfied that the eight week entry point should be reduced to four weeks,” he concluded.

Liam Messam guilty of headlock but not punished

Chiefs skipper Liam Messam can be seen holding Sharks player Renaldo Bothma in a headlock just prior to this incident. Messam was cited for dangerous tackling, but admitted his guilt and was charged with commiting an act contrary to good sportsmanship.

Due to his good disciplinary record, no further punishment was handed out. 


  • flanker2712
    12:35 PM 26/03/2015

    It does look like he gives him a little left jab/open palm at the next ruck (to which Bismarck doesn't react because he knows it will result in the slo-mo of his kick to the head up on the big screens), but nothing more! Agree that his reaction, or lack of it, was commendable.

  • stroudos
    2:40 PM 25/03/2015

    I do find it quite amusing how Leitch - after being kicked studs-first in the face! - gets up, gives Bismarck a little shove and trots off to get on with his game. I've never been kicked in the head on a rugby pitch but I can't imagine I'd remain so composed if it did happen! "the player claims he was frustrated by Chiefs' No. 8 not releasing him from the tackle". This is bullshit. Maybe held for a split second, max.

  • i_bleed_green_and_gold
    3:42 PM 24/03/2015

    1)# sorry @bissiebonecrusher .... it was the "heat of the moment." Did not mean to have his head so close to my boot. 2) how soft is rugby getting now that you can't kick a man in the head who is holding on to your legs? #softtaco. 3) the victim got kicked in the head and played on because the SH competition is more hard core/ better/ superior to the NH. But seriously, sharks had a player advantage and could have got the maximum points from this fixture but no self control. 3 red cards in the game.. This is a crazy offense and should have been a much longer ban. Glad he did not get a stud in the eye or that may have been it for his world cup aspirations.

  • danknapp
    2:16 PM 24/03/2015

    Things that will now happen: [ ] Du Plessis will tweet saying he was very sorry. [ ] Someone will comment on RugbyDump that the game is going soft. [ ] Somehow this will descend into an argument about NH and SH rugby.


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Bismarck du Plessis banned for a month for kicking Michael Leitch in the face | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos