Tanielu Tele'a, Akker van der Merwe cop heavy Super Rugby bans

Akker van der Merwe, pictured playing for the Sharks vs. the Blues in Super Rugby Round 2, has been banned for three weeks. Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images

Blues winger Tanielu Tele'a, Sharks hooker Akker van der Merwe and Bulls hooker have each received a heavy ban, after Super Rugby's governing body, SANZAAR, announced sanctions handed down by their Foul Play Review Committee .

Tele'a was banned for four weeks after he pleaded guilty to a charge of tackling a player off the ground in that he crashed into airborne Stormers wing Dillyn Leyds during Saturday's 24-9 victory for the Blues, earning himself a red card.

The committee found the act warranted a suspension of eight weeks but cut that in half due to his guilty plea and good judicial record.

Van der Merwe and Brits were involved in a fist fight, for which both players were red-carded in the Pretoria-based side's 19-16 victory on Saturday.

Van der Merwe pleaded guilty to the offence, which saw the usual six-week sanction cut in half.

Brits rejected Sanzaar's sanction of four weeks, and lost his appeal on Tuesday.

The SANZAAR Judicial Committee deemed Btits' act of foul play merited a mid-range entry point of six weeks, as World Rugby instructions dictate any incident of foul play involving contact with the head must start at a mid-range level, but reduced the sentence by two weeks as the player was not the instigator of the incident.

"Due to the player's previous two periods of suspension for striking offences, the Judicial Committee were unable to provide the full 50 percent discount for the sanction."

Van der Merwe and Brits are likely rivals for one spot in the South Africa squad for Rugby the World Cup in Japan later in the year, with Malcolm Marx and Bongi Mbonambi ahead of them in the pecking order.