Six match ban for Sharks centre Esterhuizen

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Sharks centre Andre Esterhuizen has been handed a stiff six-week ban after being sent off for a dangerous tackle on Saturday as his side drew 9-9 with the Melbourne Rebels in Durban in the Super Rugby competition.

Esterhuizen’s early dismissal left his side down at 14 men for more than an hour of the game and he was found guilty at a disciplinary hearing on Monday of a reckless challenge that "placed the opposing player in an extremely dangerous position".

The 23-year-old Esterhuizen was similarly suspended two years ago but what would have been an 11-week ban this time round was reduced to six due to a guilty plea, an on-field apology to the Rebels’ wing Sefa Naivalu and his conduct in the judicial process, said a SANZAAR statement.

Esterhuizen effectively misses all but one of the Sharks’ remaining regular season games, eligible only again in July for the last match at home to the Lions.

(Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Gareth Jones)

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