Stormers’ Adre Smith receives eight-week suspension over Thomond Park incident

World Rugby announce date at end of the month for Rassie Erasmus hearing

Stormers lock Adre Smith has been suspended for eight weeks after being found guilty of an act of foul play in his side's United Rugby Championship defeat by Munster at Thomond Park last Saturday night.

Smith had been cited after allegations of biting in the 46th minute of the match by the Munster hooker Niall Scannell which his captain Peter O'Mahony brought to the attention of match referee Andrew Brace. Although no evidence of any wrongdoing could be proven after recourse to the TMO and video replays, Smith was subsequently cited and faced a disciplinary hearing on Thursday via video conference.

As indicated by the Munster head coach Johann van Graan after the game, Scannell was examined by the head of their medical team, Dr Jamie Kearns, and that is understood to have been submitted to the match commissioner.

Smith was found guilty of an act of foul play and banned for eight weeks.


A statement by the URC said: “The player received a citing complaint under Law 9.12 – A player must not physically or verbally abuse anyone. Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, biting, punching, contact with the eye or eye area, striking with any part of the arm (including stiff-arm tackles), shoulder, head or knee(s), stamping, trampling, tripping or kicking.

"The Disciplinary Panel, comprising of Sheriff Kathrine Mackie, Iain Leslie (both Scotland) and Janet Gedrych (Wales) concluded that there was an act of foul play which merited a low range entry point. The player's previous record and behaviour during the process were considered and mitigation of 30 per cent was applied.

“As a result, the player has been banned for a period of eight games. He is free to play from midnight on Sunday, February 13th, 2022. The player was reminded of his right to appeal.”

Moving rather less swiftly, meanwhile, World Rugby has confirmed that Rassie Erasmus, the Springboks' director of rugby and the South Africa Rugby union are to face a disciplinary hearing on October 30th/31st, as this was the earliest possible date to suit all parties.

Erasmus and SA Rugby were charged with misconduct after Erasmus delivered a controversial hour-long video criticising referee Nic Berry in the aftermath of the first Test between the Springboks and the British & Irish Lions, which the hosts lost 22-17.

A statement by World Rugby read: "Independent Judicial Panel chairman Christopher Quinlan QC has confirmed that the Rassie Erasmus and SA Rugby misconduct hearing will take place over the weekend of 30-31 October.

"Quinlan will chair the panel alongside Nigel Hampton QC (New Zealand) and Judge Mike Mika (New Zealand).

"Following the provision of detailed written submissions and evidence from Mr Erasmus, SA Rugby and World Rugby, a request was received from SA Rugby and Mr Erasmus for an oral hearing, which has been granted.

“The hearing date, set in consultation with the parties, is the earliest possible date taking into account previous commitments of all parties, participants and the multiple time zones involved.

“The independent disciplinary committee will publish a full written decision following the completion of the entire proceedings.”

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley

Gerry Thornley is Rugby Correspondent of The Irish Times