The Springboks historic victory over the All Blacks in Dunedin on Saturday night has been marred by the three week suspension of hooker Bismarck Du Plessis, the replacement for injured captain John Smit.
Du Plessis, filling in for Smit, who will be sitting out the rest of the Tri Nations after being injured during the first test, was cited for making contact with the eyes of All Black flanker Adam Thomson.
The abrasive hooker was cited by citing commissioner Dick Byres under Law 10.4 (k), for contact with the eyes or eye area . SANZAR judiciary commissioner Kim Garling found the Springbok had not intentionally made contact with the eye though.
Du Plessis acknowledged his fist had come into contact with Thomsons lower cheek and then his left hand knuckle appeared to come into contact with Thomsons face near the eye area, but did not come into contact with his eye. Video footage showed there was no visible mark to Thomsons face as a result of this contact.
Du Plessis conceded the carelessness of his actions at the first available opportunity when the matter came before the Judiciary and had shown regret for his actions. His legal representative argued that the contact, while careless, was not deliberate.
Garling agreed with the submission but said any action in which a players fingers, hand, or a knuckle comes into contact with the eye or eye area of a another player was very serious.
He was cleared of gouging, but was found guilty of careless conduct and subsequently suspended for three weeks.
With Smit at home and Du Plessis now suspended, it means that exciting Stormers hooker Schalk Brits will leap to number one and more than likely start against the Wallabies in Perth on Saturday. Young Cheetahs hooker Adrian Strauss will fly over as backup to Brits.
Over to you: One week suspension for Brad Thorn. Three weeks suspension for Du Plessis. Is this consistent, or does the citing process have a long way to go before being perfect? We want to hear your thoughts, as obviously there’s been a mixed reaction to both incidents’ outcomes.