Cheetahs centre banned for 13 weeks

Nico Lee in action during the Guinness Pro14 match between Isuzu Southern Kings and Toyota Cheetahs at NMMU Stadium on January 18, 2019 in Port Elizabeth.
Nico Lee in action during the Guinness Pro14 match between Isuzu Southern Kings and Toyota Cheetahs at NMMU Stadium on January 18, 2019 in Port Elizabeth.
Image: Michael Sheehan

Cheetahs centre Nico Lee was on Wednesday banned for 13 weeks for clearing the contents of his nose on an opponent in their Pro14 match against Connacht last weekend.

Lee breached Law 9.27 - A player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship.

The player was reported by the citing commissioner for an incident in the 64th minute of Connacht's victory over the Cheetahs in Galway.

Lee admitted that he had cleared the contents of his nose onto the face of flanker Colby Fainga’a thereby committing an act of foul play.

The disciplinary committee found that: “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.

“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.”

The committee deemed that the offence merited a red card with a top-end offence with an entry point of 26 weeks.

The Cheetahs have condemned Lee’s actions but have accepted his apology. “The unsportsmanlike behaviour is seen in a very serious light by 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‚” a statement read.

The Cheetahs will replace Lee on tour with Benhard Janse van Rensburg who will be joining the squad in Wales ahead of the clash against Scarlets in Llanelli on Sunday.

Lee will again be available for Pro14 duty from midnight Sunday 21 July.

X