Fortuin suspended for two weeks



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Cheetahs fullback Bevin Fortuin has been suspended for two weeks after being found guilty of an amended charge of dangerously playing an opponent without the ball in the Rebel Sport Super 14 match between the Blues and Cheetahs at Eden Park, Auckland, on Friday, 6 April.

Fortuin appeared before SANZAR Judicial Officer Bruce Squire QC at the New Zealand Rugby Union offices in Wellington today after he was cited by Citing Commissioner David Gray. Fortuin was represented by Cheetahs Manager Naka Drotske at the hearing.

Mr Squire said that after consideration of video footage of the incident and Fortuin’s acknowledgement of the amended offence, a period of suspension was inevitable.

The offending involved the lifting of the Blues player into a dangerous position and failing to ensure he was safely returned to the ground ‘ a feature of a number of tackle incidents which have recently been the subject of citings.

As in those cases, the potential for serious injury was high, requiring an appropriate response in order to endeavour to eliminate the practice. Mr Squire said that aspect needed to be reflected in the penalty imposed.

As a result, it was determined that the offending fell within the middle range band prescribed in IRB Regulation 17 Schedule of Recommended Sanctions which involved an entry point of four weeks.

Mr Squire found that there were a number of mitigating factors which needed to be taken into account, to the player’s credit. These included a previously unblemished record, no intention to injure the Blues player involved and Fortuin’s ready acknowledgement of the unacceptability of his conduct.

In the result, Mr Squire imposed a suspension from all rugby for two weeks up to and including 24 April 2007.

The result is that Fortuin will miss the Cheetahs’ next two matches, against the Hurricanes in Wellington on Friday 13 April and the Reds in Brisbane the following week.

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