Wales prop Samson Lee has been hit with a five-week ban for headbutting South African second row Flip van der Merwe during the Red Dragons’ agonsising last-minute loss to the Springboks in Nelspruit last weekend.
The ban means Lee will miss the first three weeks of the Scarlets’ PRO12 campaign as well as friendlies against Bath and Gloucester.
Lee was cited for the incident which resulted in Van der Merwe receiving treatment for a blood injury.
A 10-week ban was initially imposed by the IRB disciplinary officer, but that was susequently halved on account of Lee’s admission of reckless conduct, his youth and his remorse at the hearing.
In the aftermath of the Suarez-Chiellini biting incident, it is worth taking a look at how other sports deal with similar offences that overstep the accepted limits of physicality.
We’re not suggesting that a headbutt in rugby is as bad as an apparent bite in soccer or anywhere else, but if Lee could be handed an initial ten-week suspension for “striking or punching an opponent” in the brutal cauldron that is Test rugby, then surely things do not bode well for Suárez as the ever-consistent FIFA weighs up his fate.