‘Red-faced’ Du Plessis banned

2015-03-23 00:00

CONTRITE and “ashamed” Sharks rugby captain Bismarck du Plessis was last night banned for four weeks following his red card for kicking an opponent during Saturday night’s Super Rugby outing against the Chiefs at King’s Park.

The Sharks won a tight match 12-11 and three players — two Sharks and one from the Chiefs — were red-carded while two other Chiefs players were yesterday cited for foul play.

Du Plessis pleaded guilty to kicking Chiefs number eight Michael Leitch and Sanzar judicial officer Adam Casselden suspended him for four weeks. Du Plessis will miss the Sharks’ home games against the Force, Crusaders and Bulls and the away fixture against the Lions.

The Springbok hooker said that he had become frustrated after Leitch held on to him after making a tackle but Casselden said the offence was a grave one and there was the possibility of serious injury.

Casselden said Du Plessis had played professional rugby for 12 years but, apart from a three-week suspension in 2008, the player’s disciplinary record was unblemished and he was not a serial offender. “This is his first red card offence in a lengthy first-class playing career.”

He said that the player’s remorse and immediate acceptance that he committed an act of foul play satisfied him that the eight-week entry point should be reduced to four weeks.

Sharks coach Gary Gold said he would not attempt to condone Du Plessis’s actions.

“He has apologised to the Sharks group and he is ashamed of his behaviour — and those are his words not mine.”

Gold said that the volatile Du Plessis had been targeted by ­opponents, like Bulls lock Victor Matfield, in the past.

“But I’m not saying that was the case here. It was silly to lash out at an opponent’s head with his boot and he has ­acknowledged that.”

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