JOHANNESBURG: Australian Rory Arnold was red-carded for biting on his South African Currie Cup debut on Saturday after scoring a try for Griquas in a 40-20 loss at Cheetahs.
Replacement hooker Ethienne Reynecke accused the 2.08-metre, 127-kilogram lock of biting him on the arm as he barged over for the try in central city Bloemfontein.
Referee Craig Joubert, who handled the 2011 Rugby World Cup final, saw the bite marks and referred the 62nd-minute incident to the television match official (TMO).
After studying replays, the TMO said Arnold had bitten a Cheetah and Joubert sent off the Wagga Wagga-born Australian from the Gold Coast Breakers club.
Arnold, 23, played for the Combined New South Wales-Queensland Country side against the touring British and Irish Lions this year and is known as 'Big Dog'.
It was the second time in eight days a South African has been bitten with Argentina No. 8 Leonardo Senatore banned for nine weeks on Thursday after Springbok Eben Etzebeth complained.
Cheetahs lock Teboho Mohoje and Griquas substitute flanker Marnus Schoeman were yellow-carded earlier in the second half as the central region derby between strugglers boiled over.
After starting the 10-round league season with a win at Golden Lions, Cheetahs lost away to title-holders Western Province and at home to Sharks.
Cinderella side Griquas from diamond city Kimberley shocked Sharks away, then lost at Bulls in an all-penalties eyesore and at home against Province.
Right-wing Nico Scheepers gave Griquas the lead twice at Free State Stadium with penalties before a pushover try from flanker Boom Prinsloo put the home side into a lead they never surrendered.
Late opening-half tries from Ghana-born left-wing Raymond Rhule and skipper Prinsloo made it 22-6 at half-time and Griquas never threatened to overhaul the deficit during the second half.
Fly-half Elton Watts and substitute scrum-half Kevin Luiters also scored tries for Cheetahs, who far exceeded Super 15 expectations this season by reaching the play-offs.
Watts also kicked a conversion and two penalties and right-wing Riaan Smit two conversions and a penalty for a bonus-point win that lifted Cheetahs to second place, two points behind Sharks.
Scheepers, the second-highest points scorer this season behind Lions' Marnitz Boshoff, converted tries by left-wing Rocco Jansen and Arnold and slotted two penalties.
Sharks, runners-up in the past two competitions, made it three wins in a row with two second-half tries within seven minutes setting up a 34-18 home win over Bulls.
Centre Helmar Williams dotted down on 55 minutes and scrum-half Charl McLeod soon after, while veteran lock Marco Wentzel claimed the bonus-point fourth try 10 minutes from time.
Young fly-half Fred Zeilinga maintained form that has kept 2007 Rugby World Cup winner Butch James on the bench with a 14-point goal-kicking contribution.
Akona Ndungane, a right-wing in the twilight of his career, bagged two tries for the Pretoria outfit while fly-half Handre Pollard made a promising debut for a team that trailed 13-10 at the break.
Hard hit by the loss of stars like fly-half Morne Steyn to much higher salaries in France, Ireland and Japan, the injury-stricken Bulls have conceded 96 points in two matches.