Stormers full-back Robert du Preez will miss the Super Rugby Finals Series after receiving a six-week ban for a dangerous tackle.
Du Preez committed the offence in the closing stages of the Stormers' defeat to the Sharks on Saturday and pleaded guilty to contravening Law 10.4 (j) Lifting Tackle, after he was cited following the match at the weekend.
Du Preez has been suspended from all forms of the game for six weeks up to and including Sunday, 2 August.
SANZAR Duty Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC said: "After initially reviewing the video footage, Citing Commissioner's report and the sin bin report from the referee, I heard from the player, Robert du Preez to obtain his account of the incident. The player accepted that he was guilty of the cited offence and I then identified the various factors involved in the incident.
"I considered the incident had an entry point in the mid-range which starts at an eight-week suspension for lifting tackles. I then added two weeks as a deterrent to send a further message that this type of tackle cannot be tolerated in the game due to the risk it poses to players. There have been a number of decisions relating to lifting tackles this year with a deterrent increase of this size being added. A further increase in this level of deterrence may be required in the future as the additional two-week increase to sanction does not seem to be having the required effect of getting rid of these tackles.
"Mitigating factors included the player admitting guilt for the offence and demonstrating remorse for his actions at all times through the process. The player has a good disciplinary record and his youth along with inexperience were taken into account. These, among other factors, entitles the player to a 50 per cent reduction from the entry point, which results in a reduction of four-weeks and meaning a six-week sanction is to be imposed which was accepted by the player.
"I then considered the players' upcoming schedule. The Stormers are playing in a Super Rugby Qualifier this weekend with their potential to play in the following two weeks determined by their results. If the Stormers were to be knocked out at any stage of the competition, the player would then be expected to resume playing for his club, Stellenbosch University, and preparing with the Western Province team for the upcoming pre-Currie Cup matches. I am satisfied on the materials presented to me that the missing of these games will have meaningful playing consequences for the player.
"The player's schedule contains one bye weekend and as a result the actual suspension will run until after the player's scheduled match on 1 August 2015.
"The player is accordingly found to have contravened Law 10.4 (j) and is suspended for six weeks up to and including Sunday 2 August 2015."