Sharks centre Andre Esterhuizen was shown a straight red card for this nasty looking tackle during the dour 9-9 draw with the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday. Esterhuizen has since been suspended for 6 weeks, after it was ruled that he contravened Law 10.4(j).
Esterhuizen pleaded guilty to the charge, which specifically refers to ‘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.’
In his finding, the Judicial Committee Chairman Michael Heron QC ruled the following:
“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.”