Esterhuizen was sent off in the first half of a drab 9-9 Super Rugby draw in Durban after lifting Naivalu off his feet and ploughing him head first into the deck.
Judicial Committee chairman Michael Heron QC 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.”
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