Etzebeth banned, Botha to join Boks

Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth has received a two-week suspension for his headbutt on Wallabies No 5 Nathan Sharpe.

The transgression was not punished by the referee in last Saturday’s Test, but Etzebeth has been subsequently suspended following a disciplinary hearing on Monday. Etzebeth will miss the Boks’ match against the All Blacks in Dunedin.

Nigel Hampton QC stated that this was not an attempt just to push the opposing player away by using his head without contact being made. ‘The player brought his forehead forward and downward with a degree of speed and force into the nose area of the opposing player making contact with that player,’ he said. ‘This was a deliberate act done as a part of an episode of escalating “tit for tat” pushing and shoving between the two players. As to sanction, intentional striking with the head into the face of another is not to be countenanced under any circumstances.’

Bok coach Heyneke Meyer has confirmed that veteran lock Bakkies Botha, who is currently playing for Toulon in France, will join the squad. Meyer clarified that Botha will not be considered to start against the All Blacks. Flip van der Merwe and Andries Bekker are existing locking options that didn’t start in Perth.

The Boks picked up three injuries in last Saturday’s match. Jannie du Plessis tweaked his hamstring, Pat Cilliers strained a ligament in his elbow and Bryan Habana sustained an ankle injury.

Team doctor Craig Roberts said that Habana should be fit for the Test against the All Blacks in Dunedin, but Du Plessis and Cilliers are in doubt and front-row replacements are likely to be summoned from South Africa.