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13-week ban for Cheetahs player who cleared nose onto face of Connacht player

‘It is difficult to imagine how an act of foul play of this sort could be worse,’ said the disciplinary panel.
Feb 20th 2019, 3:30 PM 77,275 63

CHEETAHS CENTRE NICO Lee has been banned for 13 weeks after accepting that he “had cleared the contents of his nose onto the face of an opposing player.”

A disciplinary hearing today confirmed Lee’s suspension after he was cited for the incident involving Connacht flanker Colby Fainga’a in last weekend’s Guinness Pro14 clash at the Sportsground.

Ban

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Having been cited for an alleged infringement of Law 9.27 – “A Player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship” – Lee was found to have committed an act of foul play by the disciplinary committee that met in Cardiff.

The incident occurred at a ruck in the 64th minute of Connacht’s win against the Cheetahs and provoked a reaction from Fainga’a at the time.

Lee’s actions were deemed to be a top-end offence with an entry point of 26 weeks, although that was reduced by 50% due to the South African’s “admission of facts and his clean disciplinary record.”

A 13-week ban means Lee will miss 13 gameweeks, ruling him out of action until July.

The panel found that Lee showed “regret and an element of embarrassment about the situation” during the hearing.

“The Player’s actions are an act of foul play,” said the panel. “They have no place in the game. This is not a case of over-exuberance, or an act which is within the rules of the game going awry.

“It follows that by its nature this act is one that is deserving of punishment. It is contrary to the spirit of sport.

“The effect on the victim player was understandably serious. There is no expectation, and there ought never be an expectation, that an opposing player would clear the contents of their nose onto an opponent.

“It is difficult to imagine how an act of foul play of this sort could be worse, save for repeated acts or where actual injury is caused.”

Lee will be free to return to play from midnight on Sunday, July 21, 2019 and was reminded of his right to appeal.

- Originally published at 15.30

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Murray Kinsella

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