A South African rugby player has copped a massive ban after spraying snot on the face of an opponent.

Cheetahs centre Nico Lee was handed a 13-week suspension after the unsportsmanlike conduct during a Pro14 match against Connacht.

The 24-year-old admitted he "cleared the contents of his nose onto the face of an opposing player thereby committing an act of foul play" when he sprayed Connacht flanker Colby Fainga'a, IOL reported.

"The player's actions are an act of foul play. They have no place in the game," the Pro14 body said.

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"This is not a case of over-exuberance, or an act which is within the rules of the game going awry. It follows that by its nature, this act is one that is deserving of punishment. It is contrary to the spirit of sport.

"The effect on the victim player was understandably serious. There is no expectation, and there ought never be an expectation, that an opposing player would clear the contents of their nose on to an opponent."

The entry point of the offence was a 26-week ban, however with Lee's admission of facts and clean record, his punishment was reduced by 50 per cent. He will miss the remainder of the Pro14 tournament.

"I would just like to start by apologising to Cheetah rugby, my teammates, the supporters and the Guinness Pro14. And everyone that believed in me, for my actions," Lee said in a video on the Cheetahs Twitter account.

"That's not the type of person or player I am. It was an act of stupidity. I would just like to say sorry, and apologise for everything."