Sport / Rugby

Heinz Schenk
2 minute read
24 Apr 2017
8:26 pm

WATCH: Andre Esterhuizen and Sharks feel the pain of his ban

Heinz Schenk

The imposing centre was tipped to perhaps be in the Bok squad before his six-week suspension but Johan Deysel is ready to fill the void.

Andre Esterhuizen was given a straight red card for a tip tackle. Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images.

Andre Esterhuizen and the Sharks both felt the sharp pain of him being suspended for six weeks on Monday.

The 23-year-old centre was handed the sentence following his red card for a tip tackle against the Rebels at the weekend.

Referees have been told to merciless when it comes to dangerous tackling.

It certainly didn’t help that Esterhuizen crashed Sefanaia Naivalu’s head into the ground first.

“His ban is a massive disappointment for us and a big loss,” said Sharks coach Robert du Preez on Monday before the team’s departure for Argentina to play the Jaguares.

“These things happen in rugby. Andre is really remorseful of what happened. To be honest, it can happen to any player. But we’ve got to look forward now.”

Nonetheless, it’s still a hammer blow to Esterhuizen, who’s arguably been the best local inside centre in this year’s campaign.

The former Junior Springbok has always been an excellent defender but in 2017 he’s really become an attacking force too, particularly with his ability to break tackles.

“Andre’s been playing such good rugby,” said Du Preez.

“I believe he would’ve been a certainty to make the South Africa ‘A’ side but he probably could’ve even been in the Springbok squad. His defence and his organisational abilities are so valuable to us.”

But it’s not all doom and gloom.

Esterhuizen’s place will be taken by Johan Deysel, a talented Namibian international.

The 25-year-old is well known to Du Preez, who coached him at NWU-Pukke and the Leopards in Potchefstroom.

He’s perhaps more known for his fine attacking play – he had the honour of scoring a try against the All Blacks in the 2015 World Cup.

And don’t forget a stupendous individual try during the Varsity Cup in 2015.

“The door has now been opened for Johan. He’s been in our setup all along and it’s great to give a guy like him an opportunity. His defence is also sound,” said Du Preez.

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