The Blues will be minus star wing Rene Ranger for the next two weeks, after he pleaded guilty to a charge of a dangerous tackle on Bulls rival Bjorn Basson at the weekend.
SANZAR judicial officer Mike Heron accepted a guilty plea from Ranger for contravening Law 10.4 (e): Dangerous Tackling.
This follows after the three-times capped All Black was cited during after the Blues' 29-23 Super Rugby win over the Bulls in Pretoria at the weekend.
Ranger was penalised, yellow-carded and shown a white card after he made a "late and dangerous" tackle on Basson in the 79th minute of the match.
Heron, on review of the incident, suspended the wing for two weeks.
In his finding the judicial officer said the tackle was "reckless and late", adding that he felt it was a "dynamic and very fast-moving" situation.
Ranger will miss the Blues' games against the Stormers in Cape Town on Friday and the Hurricanes in Auckland on March 23.
Heron said that although Ranger was "initially" trying to tackle Basson, he had to pull out as the Bulls player was too close to the ground, with the result that his arms weren't used.
"In my view the tackle was reckless, and late (but this was a dynamic and very fast moving situation)," Heron said.
"I accept Ranger's account that he was attempting a legitimate tackle and had no intention of injuring the Bulls player. The referee and AR's [assistant referee's] report reflect a similar impression as the citing commissioner, although concentrate on the lack of attempt to use the arms and the use of the shoulder.
"I note that the player was issued a yellow card and a white card was also issued. I have an informal medical report to the effect that the Bulls player has injured ligaments in his left shoulder and has bruised ribs on the left side (I am unable to determine whether these resulted from the tackle although that is a fair inference).
"The Bulls player walked off the pitch with the other players and I am told that the players met after the game and the relationship between the teams was amicable.
"I find that the tackle was late and dangerous (as cited). I am satisfied that the player did not intend to carry out such a tackle and the footage confirms his original intention.
"I find, however, that he was reckless as to the safety of the tackle. In all the circumstances, I find that the tackle was lower end in terms of the entry point for Law 10.4(e). That gives an entry point of two weeks.
"The player has one previous disciplinary matter of a similar nature. By coincidence it occurred at the same ground against the same team in 2009.
He received a one week sanction.
"He does not, therefore, have the benefit of a completely clean record.
"The effect on the Bulls player and the need for general deterrence provide some aggravation, albeit modest in the circumstances.
"The player was contrite and sensibly accepted that the tackle was dangerous. He and the coach put forward an explanation, which was supported by the footage. Rene Ranger is a respected member of the Blues and is held in high regard both on and off the field. He deserves full credit for his attitude and for his early plea of guilty. In summary, I find that the aggravating factors (described) are counterbalanced by the mitigating factors and they are approximately equivalent.
"I am left with the entry point of two weeks and that is the sanction I impose."
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The Barbarians are one of the top invitational rugby sides with a long history and classic rugby jersey.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Lions get ready for their matches with this green training jersey. It's what the players wear. Get in the Gear!
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The Lions are ready to get their Australia tour underway. They arrive in Perth on Monday.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.