A SANZAR Judicial Hearing found Van der Merwe of the Bulls guilty of contravening Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking after he was cited following a Super Rugby match at the weekend.
Van der Merwe has been suspended for three weeks up to and including Sunday 11 May 2014.
The incident occurred in the 75th minute of the match between the Waratahs and Bulls at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Saturday 19 April 2014.
The SANZAR Judicial Hearing held via video conference on Wednesday 23 April 2014 at 8am SAST, 4pm AEST, 6pm NZST was heard by Adam Casselden who was assisted by former professional player, Eroni Clarke.
In his finding, Mr Casselden ruled the following, “Having heard the submissions from the player’s counsel, Stephan Weyers, receiving evidence from the players, Flip van der Merwe and Paddy Ryan and also reviewing the video footage a number of times along with other evidence, I found on the balance of probabilities that Mr Van der Merwe did strike Mr Ryan’s nose with his hand, arm or fist but that no injury was sustained by Mr Ryan by reason of Mr Van der Merwe’s action.
“Having considered all the matters that are in Regulation 17.9.2, I was satisfied that a mid level entry point was appropriate, particularly considering the intent of Mr Van der Merwe to strike Mr Ryan and the vulnerable position Mr Ryan was placed in at the base of a collapsed scrum in circumstances where he could not protect himself from Mr Van der Merwe’s action.
“A mid level entry point dictates a suspension of five weeks, but due to the player’s good character, lengthy professional playing career and his relatively clean disciplinary record, I was satisfied that the five week entry point should be reduced to three weeks.
“Accordingly, the player is suspended from all forms of rugby from Saturday 26 April 2014 up to and including Sunday 11 May 2014.”
Hearing Details: Wednesday 23 April 2014 at 8am SAST, 4pm AEST, 6pm NZST
Judicial Hearing Chairman: Adam Casselden
Player: Flip van der Merwe
Date of Incident: 19 April 2014
Nature of Offence: Law 10.4 (a) Punching or Striking. A player must not strike an opponent with the fist or arm, including the elbow,shoulder, head or knee(s).
Elapsed time in match when incident occurred: 75th minute