Harlequins centre Andre Esterhuizen has received a four-week suspension after he was sent off during their Gallagher Premiership victory over Gloucester.

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Esterhuizen was dismissed early in the second half of last Sunday’s game for striking Gloucester fly-half Lloyd Evans, who failed a subsequent head injury assessment, in the face with his elbow.

The Rugby Football Union said that Esterhuizen accepted the charge and he was suspended by a three-man independent panel.

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It means that he will miss Quins’ Heineken Champions Cup games against Munster and Racing 92, plus Premiership appointments with Bristol and Worcester, and can play again on January 5.

Exeter scrum-half Stu Townsend, meanwhile, has been banned for five weeks following a citing for dangerous play in a ruck or maul.

Townsend accepted the charge, which arose from Exeter’s Premiership match against Leicester four days ago.

Townsend’s shoulder made contact with the head of Leicester wing Harry Simmons.

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Simmons sustained concussion, which was diagnosed in the days following the game after he displayed fresh symptoms at a training session.

The panel’s suspension sidelines Townsend from Champions Cup fixtures against Glasgow and Toulouse, and Premiership games against Gloucester, Wasps and Bristol. He can return to action on January 12.

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