Harlequins' Andre Esterhuizen & Exeter's Stuart Townsend receive bans for foul play

Andre Esterhuizen is sent off
Harlequins centre Andre Esterhuizen was sent off four minutes into the second half at Gloucester

Harlequins centre Andre Esterhuizen and Exeter scrum-half Stuart Townsend have both been banned until early 2021 after admitting acts of foul play.

Esterhuizen, 26, was sent off early in the second half of his side's 34-24 win at Gloucester after replays showed he elbowed Lloyd Evans in the face.

The South African admitted the charge and was banned for four weeks, meaning he cannot play again until 5 January.

Townsend, 25, was suspended for five weeks for dangerous play in a ruck.

The Exeter player was cited following his side's win at Leicester with video evidence showing Townsend dived in and hit Harry Simmons' head with his shoulder as he went to clear out a ruck, making no attempt to wrap his arms around his opponent.

Simmons passed an on-field head injury assessment but the incident did result in a concussion which was diagnosed in the days after the match and the winger will miss this weekend's fixture as part of the Premiership's concussion protocols.

Townsend will not be able to play again until 12 January, a Rugby Football Union disciplinary hearing ruled.

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