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Van der Merwe picks up ban for fist fight with Springbok rival

Springbok hooker Akker van der Merwe. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Blues winger Tanielu Tele’a has been suspended for four weeks of Super Rugby, and Sharks hooker Akker van der Merwe for three after governing body SANZAAR announced sanctions handed down by their Foul Play Review Committee.

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Tele’a pleaded guilty to a charge of tackling a player off the ground after he was red-carded during his Auckland side’s 24-9 victory for crashing into airborne Stormers’ winger Dillyn Leyds.

The committee found that the act warranted a suspension of eight weeks, but cut that in half due to his guilty plea and the player’s good judicial record.

Van der Merwe was involved in a fist fight with rival Bulls’ hooker Schalk Brits, for which both players were red-carded in the Pretoria-based side’s 19-16 victory on Saturday.

He pleaded guilty to the offence, which saw the usual six-week sanction cut in half.

Brits has also been charge by the Foul Play Review Committee, but no verdict has yet been reached in his case.

Van der Merwe and Brits are likely rivals for one spot in the South Africa squad for the World Cup in Japan later in the year, with Malcolm Marx and Bongi Mbonambi ahead of them in the pecking order.

AAP

In other news: All Blacks scrum half Aaron Smith pens new deal

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