Schalk suspended for 2 weeks

2008-02-26 00:00

STORMERS and Springbok flank Schalk Burger has been suspended for two weeks — and he can count himself lucky.

Burger was banned for two matches yesterday after being found guilty of “an act contrary to good sportsmanship” by a Super 14 disciplinary committee in Cape Town. He will miss Friday night’s game against the in-form Crusaders in Cape Town and the Stormers’ first tour match against the Queensland Reds in Brisbane on March 8.

The tearaway loose forward was initially charged with making an abusive gesture to a touch judge (referee’s assistant) after being yellow-carded in Saturday’s match against the Sharks in Durban.

He was cited by match commissioner Corrie Strydom, but the Sanzar judicial committee, chaired by Jannie Lubbe SA, found him guilty of a lesser charge of unsporting behaviour.

Burger had interfered in an off-the-ball fracas and was sent to the cooler after touch judge Willie Roos had spoken to New Zealand referee Kelvin Deaker about the incident.

The blond flank, a former World Player of the Year and a key member of the Springbok World Cup-winning squad, clearly blamed Roos for the yellow-card. He left the field angrily making a variety of hand and finger signals at Roos, one of which was to suggest that the official don a pair of spectacles.

According to Cape Town reports, Burger admitted to unsportsmanlike behaviour, but was found not guilty of abusing Roos verbally or with hand gestures. Had he been found guilty of offensive behaviour towards an official, according to International Rugby Board’s regulations, he would have faced a six-week suspension.

Live viewing of the incident, and the immediate television replays, certainly suggested that Burger had aimed a crude finger gesture in the direction of Roos.

The disciplinary committee must either have decided Burger was gesturing to the crowd in the grandstand immediately behind Roos or they received edited lowlights of Burger’s departure from the field from SuperSport.

Either way, the Crusaders, watching from the sidelines, will be delighted that the Stormers have lost their best player and their All Black flank Richie McCaw can look forward to an evening which does not involve the usual hectic scrap with Schalk Burger for the loose ball.

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