24 Apr 2014

Bulls captain banned for three weeks

11:32 am on 24 April 2014

The Bulls Super Rugby captain Flip van der Merwe has been suspended for three weeks after being found guilty of striking Waratahs prop Paddy Ryan, further deepening the crisis the South African franchise is facing among its second rowers.

Van der Merwe's absence means coach Frans Ludeke will again be required to turn to 36-year-old Victor Matfield, who was originally taken on in an advisory capacity, but has been forced onto the pitch in recent weeks.

Matfield is expected to be partnered by Paul Willemse, 15 years his junior, who was on the bench against the New South Wales Waratahs last weekend.

The Bulls have lost all three of their away matches this season.