Esterhuizen was banned for four weeks, after being cited for his yellow card offence where he tip-tackled Stormers flank Michael Rhodes in the 10th minute of the contest. Sanzar Duty Judicial Officer Nigel Hampton QC assessed the case.
In his finding, Hampton ruled the following:
“I initially reviewed the video footage, the Citing Commissioner’s report and the reports from the referee and TMO. I established that the player, Andre Esterhuizen, accepted he was guilty of the cited offence and I then identified the various factors involved in the incident.
“I considered the incident had an entry point in the low end range which starts at a four-week suspension for lifting tackles. It appeared from the video that the actions of the Sharks’ halfback had some effect on the Stormers’ player as he came to ground on his upper body. However, Esterhuizen was clearly the major contributor to this dangerous tackle, which he accepted.
Du Preez, meanwhile, was suspended for six weeks. The Stormers number 15 picked up a yellow card with four minutes remaining in the match for a tip tackle on Lwazi Mvovo. The dangerous play of Du Preez was cited and the player pleaded guilty.
Hampton considered a number of factors before dishing out the suspension for Du Preez.
“After initially reviewing the video footage, Citing Commissioner’s report and the sin bin report from the referee, I heard from the player, Robert du Preez to obtain his account of the incident. The player accepted that he was guilty of the cited offence and I then identified the various factors involved in the incident.
“I considered the incident had an entry point in the mid-range which starts at an eight-week suspension for lifting tackles. I then added two weeks as a deterrent to send a further message that this type of tackle cannot be tolerated in the game due to the risk it poses to players. There have been a number of decisions relating to lifting tackles this year with a deterrent increase of this size being added. A further increase in this level of deterrence may be required in the future as the additional two-week increase to sanction does not seem to be having the required effect of getting rid of these tackles.