The red card mars an 11-try romp by New Zealand against the African minnows
The Rugby World Cup continues to be plagued by high tackles and players banished to the sidelines. This Pool A match saw All Black prop Ethan de Groot sent off late on during his team’s 71-3 win against Namibia in Toulouse.
The loosehead, who had scored a try within moments of his introduction as a 47th-minute replacement, made contact to the head of Namibia’s Adriaan Booysen in an aggressive tackle.
The incident easily met the yellow card threshold and English referee Luke Pearce was quick to send de Groot to the sin-bin.
After reviewing the footage, the TMO Bunker deemed there was no mitigation for de Groot and upgraded the yellow to red.
Rory Best, talking in the ITV Sport studio, said: “He doesn’t wrap and it’s a shoulder to the head. This has happened so many times. At the very least a player has got to try to wrap.”
The player now faces a suspension and his place in a likely quarter-final against South Africa or Ireland is in jeopardy. He is the first All Black to be sent off at a Rugby World Cup.
The red card put a dampener on an otherwise satisfying night for the All Blacks. The three-time world champions racked up 11 tries, eight of them converted by Damian McKenzie, who finished with a personal haul of 26 points.
It was New Zealand’s 50th victory at the World Cup – only Australia (43) have also passed the 40 mark. The win also condemned the Namibians to their 24th consecutive defeat at the sport’s global showcase.
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