All Blacks prop Ethan de Groot was suspended for three Rugby World Cup games for his red card against Namibia.
He will miss the All Blacks’ last Pool A games in Lyon against Italy and Uruguay. The ban covers the quarter-finals if New Zealand make it there, but he will be available subject to him completing tackle school.
De Groot made contact with the head of Namibia’s Adriaan Booysen and was yellow-carded on Saturday in Toulouse. But the card was upgraded to red after a bunker review for charging Booysen without attempting to wrap him.
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At his judiciary hearing, de Groot admitted to foul play and didn’t think it was worthy of a red card.
But the panel said de Groot could have lowered his tackle, which was dangerous and always illegal. The panel’s sanction started at six weeks and was halved because of the prop’s good disciplinary record.
“Always disappointed. It is what it is,” New Zealand coach Ian Foster said. “We went to Paris, a big old day, argued our case and [were] a little bit surprised but we’ll have to suck that up and take it.
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“I’m not sure ours was a significant shoulder to head contact,” Foster added. “I’m not going to go into detail that’s the process we’ve got to respect that.
“There’s lots of layers in the judiciary now between the TMOs and the bunker and even those three weren’t totally aligned on it.”
De Groot did not attend the public Bordeaux session but, while suspended, he is free to resume training with the team.
“He’s good, he’s frustrated,” Foster continued. “It’s one of those things and we’ve got to deal with it.
“As frustrated as we are we’ve got to keep moving on. He’s going to miss the next three games but he’ll have a job to do in the meantime.”
De Groot scored a try in the 71-3 win. Booysen suffered a shoulder injury.
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