Melbourne Rebels prop Laurie Weeks has been banned for three weeks following a red card for multiple punches on Sharks tighthead Jannie du Plessis at the weekend. While Du Plessis struck first, Weeks’ retaliation and flurry of punches is what got him sent off.
As both tightheads ‘chased’ a high ball in the first half, Weeks appeared to obstruct Du Plessis which obviously frustrated the veteran Springbok. He lashed out with a meaty slap to the back of the head, leading Weeks to turn and start swinging.
Du Plessis did well to refrain from throwing punches himself, as Weeks threw roughly six shots, most of which landed. The doctor was yellow carded, while Weeks received a straight red.
Both players were surprised with the calls, with Du Plessis calling his shot ‘a push’, and Weeks obviously feeling that his reaction was justified after being struck pretty hard on the back of the head. His reaction did him no favours though.
Discipline has never been Du Plessis’ strongpoint, and he actually did something similar against the Hurricanes in 2012, with an open-hand slap that started a brawl.
SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Adam Casselden accepted a guilty please from Weeks, and he has been suspended from all forms of the game for three weeks up to and including 20 June 2015.
“I found the incident to have a mid-range entry point which stipulates a five-week suspension. This was then reduced by two weeks due to Weeks’ prompt admission of guilt, remorse for his actions and excellent disciplinary record.
“The applicable entry point for determining the seriousness of the offence was determined by the excessive overreaction of multiple strikes by the player when compared to the act that initially provoked him to commit the offence,” Casselden added.
Rebels skipper Scott Higginbotham scored a brace of tries, but the tourists went down 25-21.
*NOTE: This post went live before the ruling, so has since been updated