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Ian Foster reminds himself 'just breathe' after another red card

By Ned Lester
Ethan de Groot looks on for the All Blacks. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The All Blacks claimed a 71-3 win over Namibia but more of a talking point than the scoreline will be the impending disciplinary proceedings for prop Ethan de Groot, who received a red card for a reckless tackle on Namibia’s Adriaan Booysen.

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The tackle came in the 71st minute as Namibia returned a goal-line dropout, the first point of contact was to the head of Booysen, who was subsequently taken from the field with an apparent injury.

The contact then deflected to the shoulder but there was also little evidence of an attempted wrap of the arm. Also of concern was how upright the All Black was in the tackle.

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The incident was quickly deemed to meet the yellow card threshold by referee Luke Pearce, who opted for an off-field review to determine the appropriate sanction. The bunker found the play merited a red card.

“I’d guess he’s looking at three weeks,” former Wallaby Sekope Kepu said after the match on Sky Sport.

Kepu noted de Groot’s clean record and the mitigating factor of there being another tackler involved when predicting the length of the ban.

Points Flow Chart

New Zealand win +68
Time in lead
80
Mins in lead
0
100%
% Of Game In Lead
0%
63%
Possession Last 10 min
37%
7
Points Last 10 min
0

Three weeks would see head coach Ian Foster’s preferred loosehead sidelined in both remaining pool games and a potential quarter-final matchup.

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The All Blacks will not be allowed to replace de Groot regardless of the sanction according to the laws, any potential replacements, like experienced campaigner Joe Moody, may only enter the squad for injury or compassionate reasons.

The prop stocks are already diminished for the All Blacks with starting tighthead Tyrel Lomax out with a deep gash suffered against the Springboks on August 25th.

Lomax’s recovery timeline has not been confirmed, he was back to running but not fully participating at training during the Namibia week. Assuming he’s out for the All Blacks’ next Test against Italy, there will be just four props to be selected in the matchday squad.

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Veterans Nepo Laulala and Ofa Tu’ungafasi got the nod in this match and may well be called upon as starters once more while youngsters Fletcher Newell and Tamaiti Williams will also be available.

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New Zealand does have a bye-week in round three, meaning Lomax has two weeks to get back to full health for that next contest.

Following the match, Ian Foster said: “It’s frustrating getting a card.

“We’ll go and have a look at it. Experience has told me to just breathe a bit and have a good look, and there’s a lot of shoulder-on-shoulder and so we’ll have a look at that over the night and just see what happens.”

The coach later added: “We’ll compare it to something else that happened yesterday and see what comes out of that.”

Former All Black Israel Dagg added de Groot would be “absolutely livid with his decision-making”, especially after providing an immediate positive impact off the bench, scoring within a minute of taking the field.

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