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Butch suspended, Wilhelm cited



Veteran Sharks flyhalf Butch James has been suspended for four weeks for a dangerous tackle in Saturday's Super Rugby loss to the Bulls.

James's ban for a flying, head-high tackle on Jurgen Visser in the last 10 minutes of the 20-19 defeat in Pretoria ruled the former Springboks No 10 out of the Sharks' last game in this season's Super Rugby, with the Durban-based team already out of playoff contention.

James admitted the offence on Sunday and accepted the ban until August 4, governing body Sanzar said.

Meanwhile, Bulls lock Wilhelm Steenkamp will appear at a disciplinary hearing on Tuesday for an alleged headbutt on James in the same game.

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Replacement forward Steenkamp was cited for headbutting James at a ruck in the South African derby and is in danger of missing the Super Rugby finals for the Bulls, the current standings leader. Steenkamp's hearing was postponed from Monday.

Although not a starter for the Bulls, Steenkamp's absence could still hamper the three-time Super Rugby champions as they aim to make certain of a top-place finish with victory over the Stormers in the last weekend of the regular season.

The Bulls lead the defending champion Chiefs of New Zealand by two points and the Brumbies of Australia by four points ahead of the final round of games on Friday and Saturday.

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