Springbok centre Andre Esterhuizen has been handed a six-week ban after being cited for his red card for striking an opponent with his arm.
The incident occurred during Harlequins’ Premiership match against London Irish this past Saturday.
Esterhuizen was red-carded in the 49th minute of the game, after a TMO review adjudged that he had lifted his arm into the face of an opponent during an off-the-ball scuffle.
Despite Esterhuizen’s absence, Harlequins would go on to win the match 29-25.
Esterhuizen was cited under Law 9.12 Punching or striking: ‘A player must not strike an opponent with the hand, arm or fist, including the elbow, shoulder, head or knee(s).’
During his online hearing on Tuesday, the citing committee determined that the offence met the mid-range entry point of six weeks. However, given that Esterhuizen contested the charge, had not pled guilty and did not show remorse, no mitigating factors were applied.
It is the second time that Esterhuizen has been banned this season, following an incident in December where he was suspended for four weeks after dropping an elbow into the face of an opponent.
The 27-year-old will now miss the rest of Harlequins’ remaining five round-robin matches. The final fixture to be included will be determined at a later date, upon submission of further information.
It will come as a massive blow to Harlequins’ hopes of finishing in the top four, given that Esterhuizen has been a key player up until this point in the season. Harlequins are currently fourth on the table, but the Northampton Saints are just four points away from them.
You can see the incident below:
Photo: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images