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Henry not surprised at Botha ban

11/07/2010 12:32:23 PM Comments (0)

All Blacks coach Graham Henry isn't surprised at the nine-week ban handed down to South African lock Bakkies Botha for head-butting halfback Jimmy Cowan in the Tri-Nations rugby test in Auckland.

"I'm not surprised," Henry said.

"He's got a history. He's probably lucky he didn't get more than nine weeks."

Botha's suspension means he will miss the remainder of the Tri-Nations.

The ban is up to and including September 4, the day the Springboks end their defence of the title with a test against Australia in Bloemfontein.

The punishment was handed down by Sanzar judicial officer Dennis Wheelahan at a hearing in Auckland after Botha was cited for dangerous play.

The 68-Test veteran was cited for striking the back of Cowan's head in the opening minute of the All Blacks' 32-12 win.

Irish referee Alan Lewis missed the incident, which happened in a tackle after Cowan had tugged at Botha's jersey as both were chasing a ball.

Lewis later sinbinned Botha for a professional foul after he had warned the Springboks about persistent infringing.

Henry said Cowan did not appear to have suffered any ill-effects from the blow.

"No, I don't think so," he said.

"It was just one of those things that happens in a game which is not part of the game and has been dealt with correctly."

Wheelahan said Botha admitted the charge, expressed remorse and had apologised to Cowan.

Wheelahan deemed the offence to be in the middle range of seriousness, but he also took into account Botha's previous record.

The Bulls player missed this year's Super 14 playoffs after being suspended for a month for dangerous charge on Stormers back Gio Aplon, now a test teammate.

He received a two-week ban for the same offence against the British and Irish Lions last year.

He also missed three weeks of last year's Super 14 for striking and in 2003 he was suspended for eight weeks after allegedly spitting at, biting and eye-gouging Australian hooker Brendan Cannon.

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