Prop Pierre Schoeman’s year could be over in terms of the Bulls as he has been charged with biting during the Super Rugby match against the Rebels at the weekend.
The Edinburgh-bound loosehead was accused by the Rebels of biting flank Richard Hardwick on the stomach in the 58th minute and his case was considered by the Sanzaar Foul Play Review Committee on Monday morning.
No news was forthcoming from Sanzaar at the time of going to press, but Jaguares loose forward Leonardo Senatore was suspended for 10 weeks after being found guilty of biting the arm of a Sharks opponent in 2016.
With byes and the June international window taken into account, that would take Schoeman out until the playoffs and, because he is heading overseas thereafter, it would be very difficult for him to fight his way back into the team.
Coach John Mitchell already confirmed on Monday that Schoeman will not be playing on Saturday against the Highlanders, whatever the outcome of his hearing.
“I leave that up to the judicial system, although we always look after our player and will back him up. But Pierre certainly won’t be selected this weekend; it’s like an injury – there are unfortunate consequences and it’s the same for foul play. We have to be compliant,” Mitchell said at Loftus Versfeld on Monday.
Although the coach was pessimistic when he surveyed the damage in the changeroom after their tough encounter with the spoiling Rebels, only one other player has been ruled out of action: flank Roelof Smit, who suffered a head injury.
Lizo Gqoboka is the obvious replacement for Schoeman, while Shaun Adendorff will surely step into the starting line-up to replace Smit. With Tim Agaba injuring his bicep playing for the Blue Bulls in the SuperSport Rugby Challenge last weekend, Nic de Jager and Ruan Steenkamp just returning to training and Hanro Liebenberg having just had knee surgery, Mitchell will have to dig into his depth to come up with a reserve loose forward.
“We look forward to the fast-paced game of the Highlanders because we’ve been there, we know what’s coming and we don’t fear it; we embrace it because we like to play in a similar way. We’ve taken our objections over the Rebels’ strategy to Sanzaar – there were 24 stoppages, some of them 87 seconds long, which is not good for the product.
“We hope common sense prevails. We can’t have teams faking injuries and doctors in control of the pace of the game. When players are going down frequently and it seems to be premeditated with a call, then that’s not where the game should be headed,” Mitchell said on Monday.