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Page last updated at 07:30 GMT, Sunday, 13 July 2008 08:30 UK

Du Plessis hit by three-week ban

Bismarck du Plessis
Du Plessis will be available for the Test against Argentina on 9 August

South Africa hooker Bismarck du Plessis has been given a three-week ban for careless conduct during the Tri-Nations victory over New Zealand.

The 24-year-old was found guilty of coming into "contact with the eyes or eye area" of All Blacks flanker Adam Thomson after 11 minutes of the match.

The suspension means Du Plessis will miss next weekend's Tri-Nations clash against Australia in Perth.

South Africa have called up uncapped Adriaan Strauss, 23, to replace him.

Du Plessis will be available for selection against Argentina in Johannesburg on 9 August.

He was cleared of charges that he eye-gouged Thomson, with Sanzar (South Africa, New Zealand and Australian rugby) judicial officer Kim Garling ruling the contact was careless and not deliberate.


Garling viewed video footage of the incident, heard evidence from Du Plessis and received reports from the match referee and assistant referees.

Du Plessis admitted his fist had come into contact with Thomson's lower cheek but did not come into contact with the eye itself.

Television footage confirmed that there was no visible mark to the face of Thomson as a result of the contact.

Garling concluded the contact was careless and not deliberate and therefore the punishment should be at the lower end of the scale.

South Africa won the game 30-28 thanks to a late try from scrum-half Ricky Januarie, ending New Zealand's 30-match unbeaten run at home in the process.

Strauss is the second hooker brought into the Springboks' squad in as many weeks after captain John Smit's withdrawal through injury a week ago saw Stormers's Schalk Brits called up.

Brits is likely to make his starting debut for the Springboks against Australia on Saturday.

see also
New Zealand 28-30 South Africa
12 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union
New Zealand 19-8 South Africa
05 Jul 08 |  Rugby Union

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