Springboks lock Eben Etzebeth has been ruled out of Saturday's Rugby Championship match against the All Blacks in Dunedin after being suspended for two weeks for a headbutt against Australia last weekend.

Etzebeth was late last night found guilty of striking Wallabies lock Nathan Sharpe in South Africa's loss in Perth.

In his ruling, Nigel Hampton QC said: "This was a deliberate act done as a part of an episode of escalating 'tit for tat' pushing and shoving between the two players. As to sanction, intentional striking with the head into the face of another is not to be countenanced under any circumstances.''

It is understood that former Springbok Bakkies Botha, now playing for Toulon in France, has been put on standby, but the South African camp refused to confirm that this morning.


The Springboks are waiting on reports on injured tighthead props Jannie du Plessis and Pat Cilliers, and a replacement prop could be brought to New Zealand instead of lock Botha, a player with a controversial record of his own.

It is likely that Andries Bekker and Flip van der Merwe will start in the second row against the All Blacks.