Sharks' Esterhuizen hit with 6 week ban
Cape Town - A SANZAAR Judicial Committee has found Sharks centre Andre Esterhuizen guilty of contravening Law 10.4(j): Lifting a player from the ground and either dropping or driving that player's head and/or upper body into the ground whilst the player's feet are off the ground, after he was issued with a red card during the Super Rugby match against the Rebels in Durban on Saturday.
Esterhuizen has been suspended for 6 weeks.
The incident occurred in the 17th minute of the match at Kings Park.
The SANZAAR judicial hearing was held via video conference on Monday and was heard by Michael Heron (chairperson), De Wet Barry and John Langford.
In his finding, Heron ruled: "Having conducted a detailed review of all the available evidence, including all camera angles and additional evidence, including from the player and submissions from his legal representative, Thembelani Mayosi, the Judicial Committee accepted a guilty plea from the player in respect of Law 10.4(j).
"With respect to sanction the judicial committee deemed the act of foul merited a mid range entry point of 10 weeks. It was deemed to be reckless in nature and placed the opposing player in an extremely dangerous position.
"In regards to aggravating factors, it was noted that the player was suspended for a similar offence in 2015 and subsequently one week was added to the suspension period. However, taking into account mitigating factors including the player's excellent conduct throughout the judicial process, his on-field apology to the opposing player, his remorse and his early guilty plea, the foul play review committee reduced the suspension to 6 weeks.
"The player is therefore suspended for 6 weeks.”
As a result of the ban, Esterhuizen will miss the Sharks' trip to Buenos Aires to play the Jaguares, their home match against the Force, the trip to Port Elizabeth to play the Kings, the trip to Singapore to face the Sunwolves and the Sharks' key home match against the Stormers.