All Blacks prop banned for remainder RWC pool stage


All Blacks from rower Ethan de Groot will not play again until the quarter-finals of the Rugby World Cup after being suspended for his red card against Namibia.

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De Groot was yellow carded for a no-arms tackle attempt on Friday but it was later upgraded to red by the bunker review system.

The disciplinary committee ruled that, contrary to De Groot’s defence, the tackle was “always illegal” and that the prop “was not sufficiently bent at the waist”.

“Head contact… occurred and the degree of danger was high,” the committee said in a statement.

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The lack of an attempt to wrap his arms around the ball-carrier meant there was no scope for mitigation to reduce the sanction down from a red card.

New Zealand coach Ian Foster said he was disappointed and “a little bit surprised” by the decision, againt which De Groot can appeal, but “we’ll have to suck that up and take it”.

“There’s a process, you’ve got to respect that. There’s lots of layers in the judiciary now between referees and TMOs, and we’ve got the bunker. Even those three weren’t totally aligned on it.”

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Foster, however, questioned the level of danger in the tackle.

“I’m not sure ours was a significant shoulder to head contact,” he said.

“It’s frustrating but it’s just one of those things. You’ve got to deal with it and, as frustrated as we are, we’ve got to keep moving on.

De Groot was handed a three-match suspension but this was reduced to two “subject to the completion of the coaching intervention programme”.

“He’s going to miss the next two games but he’s got a job to do in the meantime,” said Foster.

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New Zealand lost their Pool A opener to France before bouncing back with a 71-3 victory over Namibia.

They have a weekend off now before facing Italy in Lyon on September 29.

“This is an inevitable part of the game and it’s happened for Ethan,” said Foster.

“We’ve got to make sure there’s no excuses. We’ve got to go and do what we need to do this week in Bordeaux and make sure we’re ready for a pretty big game in Lyon.”


All Blacks front rower Ethan de Groot. Photo: World Rugby.

© Agence France-Presse

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