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Page last updated at 09:45 GMT, Sunday, 11 July 2010 10:45 UK

Bakkies Botha handed nine-week suspension for headbutt

Bakkies Botha
Botha hangs his head in shame as he leaves the field at Eden Park

South Africa lock Bakkies Botha will miss the rest of the Tri-Nations after being banned for nine weeks for headbutting New Zealand's Jimmy Cowan.

Botha committed the offence during his side's 32-12 defeat in the opening match of the tournament on Saturday.

Botha appeared at a judicial hearing in Auckland on Sunday after being cited over the first-minute incident, which was missed by referee Alan Lewis.

Botha, who has 68 caps, has been banned from all rugby until 4 September.

The incident happened after Cowan held Botha back while the pair were chasing a kick through.

The South African, who was yellow-carded for a separate incident when he committed an offence at a ruck, was cited for striking the back of scrum-half Cowan's head.

Judicial officer Dennis Wheelahan said Botha had admitted the charge, expressed remorse and apologised to Cowan.

After viewing video evidence, Wheelahan placed the offence in the middle range of seriousness but took into account Botha's poor previous disciplinary record.

Botha was sin-binned for stamping on his Test debut against France in 2002 and in 2003 was charged with biting and eye-gouging Australia hooker Brendan Cannon.

Although no evidence was found that proved the biting or gouging charges, Botha was suspended for eight weeks for attacking Cannon's face.

He was banned for three weeks during last year's Super 14 for striking New South Wales flanker Phil Waugh and for two weeks for a dangerous charge on prop Adam Jones during the second Test against the British and Irish Lions.

The Springboks disputed that decision and staged an on-field protest in support of Botha during the third Test of the Lions series.

Botha was also suspended during this year's Super 14 for a reckless tackle.

New Zealand and South Africa meet in the second Test of the Tri-Nations series in Wellington on Saturday.

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see also
New Zealand 32-12 South Africa
10 Jul 10 |  Rugby Union
Vuvuzela ban at Tri-Nations match
07 Jul 10 |  Rugby Union
Tri-Nations game for Soccer City
02 Jul 10 |  Rugby Union
Rugby World Cup fixtures and results
26 Sep 11 |  Rugby Union

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