Cheetahs' player banned for 'clearing the contents of his nose onto the face of a Connacht player'

By Stephen Barry

A Cheetahs' player has been banned for 13 weeks for "clearing the contents of his nose onto the face of an opposing player".

Nico Lee admitted to the offence in their PRO14 defeat against Connacht on Saturday, having blown his nose onto Connacht flanker Colby Fainga’a.

A disciplinary committee found the act broke the laws of the game as it was "against the spirit of good sportsmanship".

The panel found that Lee's actions merited a red card and a top-end entry point for suspension of 26 weeks. That was halved due to Lee admitting the offence and his clean disciplinary record.

"The player's actions... 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 disciplinary committee stated.

"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.

"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."

The panel also found that there was demonstrable "regret and an element of embarrassment about the situation" from Lee and that his approach to the hearing was "mature, sensible and considered".

Lee issued a public apology on the club's Twitter account for his "act of stupidity".

Lee will be free to play from midnight on Sunday, July 21.

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