Friday night will be my first Reds game for Super Rugby AU and I will be watching two teams of fighters who bring that combative passion to the game.
Former Melbourne Rebel Colby Fainga’a has been targeted in a bizarre act of foul play during a match in Ireland with an opponent blowing his nose on to the face of the flanker.
Cheetahs player Nico Lee was suspended for a hefty 13 weeks after admitting he “cleared the contents of his nose” on Fainga’a, who is now playing for Connaught in the Pro14 league.
Lee was charged with an alleged infringement of Law 9.27 that states a player must not do anything against the spirit of good sportsmanship.
After viewing video evidence of the 64th minute incident from Saturday’s game, a disciplinary committee found Lee intentionally engaged in foul play.
“This is not a case of over-exuberance or an act which is within the rules of the game going awry,” 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.”
Lee was handed a top-end ban of 26 weeks, reduced by half due to an admission of facts and his good disciplinary record.
This will mean the centre will sit out the rest of the Pro14 season, even should the Cheetahs make the playoffs.
Lee released a video on social media in which he apologised for his actions.
“It is not the type of person I am, it was an act of stupidity. I’d just like to say sorry and apologise for everything,” he said.