Pretoria - The Bulls have called the banning of hooker Schalk Brits for four weeks "a bitter pill to swallow", but a sentence they reluctantly accept under the SANZAAR rules, supersport.com reports.
Brits was banned for four weeks - and Akker van der Merwe for three - following their fight during the Super Rugby match between the Sharks and Bulls in Durban last weekend.
While Van der Merwe was the aggressor and landed more blows, he came away with a week less suspension, mainly because of Brits' previous disciplinary record.
"Even though the four weeks ban to hooker Schalk Brits is a bitter pill to swallow, the Blue Bulls Company fully respects and abides by the rules and governing of our beautiful game. The rules are in place to make the game safer, not only for the players on the field, but also for the younger generations watching and learning," a spokesperson for the Blue Bulls Company said.
"Given the nature of the offence the minimum sentence could have been six weeks (up to eight), but due to the mitigating circumstances it was reduced to four. The appeal to further reduce it was denied due to two previous incidences that the player was involved in over his 17-year career (Barbarians v British and Irish Lions 2013; Saracens v Gloucester 2016)."
Brits has been suspended for four weeks, up to an including May 4. He will miss home matches against the Jaguares (Saturday, April 6) and Reds (Saturday, April 13), away to the Stormers (Saturday, April 27) and home to the Waratahs (Saturday, May 4).