Nico Lee has been banned for 13 weeks for the vile act against Connacht.
Cheetahs player banned for emptying nose on opponent
THIS MAY be the most revolting thing we’ve seen on a rugby pitch in a while. During the Guinness Pro14 match-up between Connacht and the Toyota Cheetahs, visiting South African centre Nico Lee emptied the contents of his nose onto the face of a Connacht player at the bottom of the ruck.
The top-end entry point for an incident like this is 26 weeks. Lee’s ban was halved due to his admission of the facts and Lee’s clean disciplinary record up until this point.
Since the decision, the Cheetahs have released a statement on it all, saying: “The unsportsmanlike behaviour is seen in a very serious light by (our) rugby hierarchy. The Toyota Cheetahs condemn this behaviour which it is not part of the team culture and accept the punishment as such.
“Nico is a star player and according to information from the team, he deeply regrets his behaviour and apologised immediately after the match to the opponent.
“The Toyota Cheetahs realise that he is remorseful of his actions and the team accepts the apology.”
Connacht won this match 25-17. Both sides scored three tries, but two Jack Carty penalties and one more conversion than the Cheetahs’s was enough to see the Irish outfit triumph. The win put Connacht six points clear of the Cheetahs in Pro 14 Conference A, as they leapt into third in the division.
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After a disciplinary panel met in Cardiff to deliberate on the Lee incident, following a citing, the panel found: “The Player’s actions are an act of foul play. 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.”
They went on to state: “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.”
In summary, the panel said: “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.”
Connacht are away to Glasgow, who are one place and nine points above them in Conference A, tomorrow night. Cheetahs are away to the Scarlets on Sunday. Replacement centre Benhard Janse van Rensburg has flown out to replace Lee in Wales.