WP captain accuses Bismarck of punching player

The incident involving Bismarck du Plessis occurred during the during the second half of the Currie Cup match between the Bulls and Western Province on Wednesday night, and in the buildup to David Kriel’s second try for the home side at Loftus.

WP captain Nama Xaba appeared to see what he has suggested was a clear punch from Du Plessis, and brought it to the attention of the officials. Yet, with a lack of clear footage, there was no action taken.

After the game, Xaba said it was “outrageous” that there wasn’t footage to reveal what happened.

“It was disappointing, maybe even outrageous that they didn’t have an angle on it,” Xaba commented after WP’s 45-34 loss.

“I was right next to the incident and I saw a strike to the face of our lock Ben-Jason [Dixon]. I was really disappointed. The assistant referee did flag it initially, but I’m not sure about the process that followed. There was just no conclusive angle. I tried my best [to provide context] for the referees.

“There’s no place for that in the game. In the context of the game, the Bulls scored a try from that play when the incident should’ve warranted a yellow or red card. That would’ve reversed the try and perhaps given us the benefit of switched momentum.”

Earlier this season, another moment of madness by Du Plessis almost proved costly for the Bulls in their United Rugby Championship (URC) clash against Munster at Loftus Versfeld.

The Bulls were cruising to victory having led 26-3 at half-time, but a spirited second half performance from the Irish giants was boosted when the Pretoria side were reduced to 14 men.

Du Plessis, 37, was sent off in the 70th minute after a dangerous tackle on Munster No 8 Alex Kendellen. The hooker, who played 79 Tests for the Springboks, picked Kendellen up at a ruck, lifted him up over his shoulder and then backflipped him in a move that drew many comparisons to the world of wrestling.

Luckily for Kendellen, his fall was broken by players on the ground, while the Bulls managed to hang on for a 29-24 win.

The Player received a Red Card under Law 9.18 – A player must not lift an opponent off the ground and drop or drive that player so that their head and/or upper body make contact with the ground.

The Judicial Officer overseeing the disciplinary process, Robert Mulligan (Scotland) determined that the Player’s actions met the threshold of a red card and that the act of foul play warranted a sanction. However, considering the Player accepted that the act of foul play warranted a Red Card, previous record (one red card in his 374 previous professional games) and behaviour during the process entitled him to full (50 per cent) mitigation.

The Bulls are scheduled to play five matches between March 12–26. As a result, the Player has been banned for a period of three games.

Fixtures Bismarck du Plessis was unavailable for:

Currie Cup: Bulls vs Sharks (March 16) SERVED

URC: Bulls vs Scarlets (March 19) SERVED

Currie Cup: Bulls vs Lions (March 23) SERVED

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