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'Dupont is not the tallest guy' - Allister Coetzee defends Johan Deysel after red

By Ian Cameron
Johan Deysel of Namibia looks dejected during the Rugby World Cup France 2023 match between France and Namibia at Stade Velodrome on September 21, 2023 in Marseille, France. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Namibia head coach Allister Coetzee has defended his captain – Johan Deysel – after the centre was red-carded for a hit that could yet end Antoine Dupont’s participation in the Rugby World Cup.


Referee Matthew Carley yellow-carded Deysel and it was ultimately upgraded to a red card upon TMO Bunker review during France’s record 96-0 hammering of the African minnows in Marseille.

The head-on-head contact fractured Dupont’s cheekbone and he’s looking at an extended amount of time on the sideline and that’s if he isn’t ruled out of the tournament entirely.

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Coetzee defended Deysel, who plays his rugby for Colomiers in the Pro D2, the French second flight. The centre has already had a deluge of abuse on his Instagram account following the red card.

“It happened so quickly. Dupont is not the tallest guy and Johan is an absolute clean player. He’s got no record of cards in the past. He’s a great defender too.


“It’s a pity it happened to him. He’s the captain, he’s a brave player, he’s the glue of the team. He feels it. It’s almost like he (feels he) let the team down, but not at all. It’s not the way we see it. We’re there to support him, it was an accident – an unfortunate one – and we have to take that on the chin, but he’s cut up at the moment.

“I must say it’s definitely hurting, a bit of humiliation from our side. I can see the players are really hurting tonight,” said Coetzee when asked about how his side were feeling after the record scoreline.

“I don’t know if the occasion was too big; [we were] completely out of system, out of structure. Every little poor kick or mistake got punished, and this is what you can expect from a quality side like the French. You make a mistake, you’re behind the poles.


“We couldn’t punch. When we had the ball we coughed it up. Simple basics weren’t good enough tonight.”

Meanwhile, Namibia scrumhalf Jacques Theron said he was disappointed not to be able to swap his jersey with Dupont after the game and said he may try to reach out to the injured star via other means.

“It was an amazing experience to take home and a story to tell for years to come, especially being able to say you played against the world’s best scrum-half and one of the world’s best players. It’s a story on its own. I’m extremely excited and pleased.

“Having his jersey would have been amazing, but with today’s technology I can hopefully reach out, hopefully get in touch with him and maybe make a plan somewhere.”






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