RUGBY NEWS - Vodacom Bulls and Springbok hooker Schalk Brits will return to the field on Friday to face the Crusaders at Loftus Versfeld, but has issued a call to the game’s lawmakers to relook the citing and disciplinary rulings that saw him being banned for five weeks recently.
Brits was given four weeks – but because the Bulls had a bye it effectively became a five week ban – for his role in the fight with Akker van der Merwe in the Bulls' win over the Sharks in Durban last month.
But while Brits was the one on the receiving end of the punches, the strange disciplinary rules meant that because he had previous offences he received a stiffer sentence than Van der Merwe, who wasn't cited for a headbutt and landed several blows to the solitary one of Brits.
Brits has accepted his sentence but believes there should be a relook at the rules governing how players are handled because of their past.
He makes the point that while others are given leniency for being new in the game, what counted against him was the fact he had two other disciplinary offences in a 20-year career.
While most administrative law sees any offence in the workplace expunged after two years, the offences – the last being in 2013 – counted against Brits and saw Van der Merwe effectively get two weeks less than him.
"Firstly there was an incident, and the incident was looked at, and because there was contact to the head, so you have to go in midway. But the interesting thing is that it is two different hearings – mine and Akker's,” Brits explained.
"They didn’t cite him for the headbutt so you only get entry level. But if you look at the law of it, he only came in halfway because he hasn't got a record – he got three weeks. Because I have a record, the same offence and it is irrelevant if you hit a guy once or 20 times – you still get midway.
Because I've had a prior incident, they gave me four weeks.
"Do I think it is fair, maybe not, but it happens. I did ask them to have a proper look at it. In essence rugby is a fair game, and if you look at the incident from beginning to end, the outcome shouldn't have been what it was.
"But I made peace with it quite quickly and from a hearing perspective, it wasn't my choice to pick the lawyer and it wasn't my choice to appeal either. The Bulls felt we needed to prove a point and from my point of view I would have liked to get less."