CAPE TOWN, April 24 (Reuters) - Bulls prop Pierre Schoeman has been banned for six weeks after being found guilty of biting a player in his side’s 28-10 win over the Melbourne Rebels in Pretoria at the weekend, organising body SANZAAR said on Tuesday.
Schoeman pleaded guilty in a hearing held via video conference on Tuesday.
“Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player and submissions from his legal representative, the Judicial Committee accepted the player’s guilty plea,” said the committee’s chairman Adam Casselden.
Schoeman’s ban rules him out of five Super Rugby matches, as well as a potential international debut for South Africa against Wales in Washington DC on June 2.
Schoeman bit Melbourne Rebels back row Richard Hardwick on the stomach during Saturday’s match.
Although not punished on the field, Schoeman was issued an off-field red card by the competition’s citing commissioner for alleged foul play.
The Rebels said their captain Tom English had alerted the on-field referee to the bite when Schoeman and Hardwick clashed in the 58th minute.
“Melbourne Rebels club captain Tom English at the time of incident appealed to the referee and gestured towards the evidence on Hardwick’s stomach, however the initial penalty call against Hardwick was upheld,” a Rebels spokesman said in a statement emailed to Reuters.
In 2016, Argentina loose forward Leonardo Senatore was suspended for 10 weeks after being found guilty of biting the arm of a Sharks opponent when playing for the Jaguares in a Super Rugby match.
Schoeman was given a more lenient sentence that took into account mitigating factors including the player’s “early guilty plea, his good character, his good disciplinary record and his remorse,” Casselden said. (Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Additional reporting by Ian Ransom Editing by Toby Davis)