Brits banned for punch
Saracens hooker Schalk Brits is set to miss the first three games of the Premiership season after being banned for striking club team-mate Owen Farrell.
Brits was cited after hitting Farrell with his arm during Saturday's game between the Barbarians and British and Irish Lions at Hong Kong Stadium.
On Sunday the South African was handed a three-week suspension following an International Rugby Board disciplinary hearing in Hong Kong, the IRB confirmed.
IRB judicial officer Steve Lewis decided that Brits' offence was mid-range and warranted an entry point of five weeks, but sanction was reduced to three weeks because of "compelling mitigating factors".
The ban could ultimately include part of Saracens' pre-season schedule, but at this stage Brits is sidelined for their opening three Premiership fixtures.
"The IRB's sanctions for foul play have been established on the basis that a one-week period of suspension would normally result in a player missing one match," read a statement released after the hearing.
"Consequently, he is suspended from all rugby up to and including the third Aviva Premiership match of the 2013-14 season, unless the judicial officer confirms in writing that any pre-season match shall be considered meaningful for the purpose of regulation 17.19.11 (d), in which case such match shall be included as one of the three matches."