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Ex-All Black takes aim at Ethan de Groot for 'taking the p***'

By Kim Ekin
Ethan de Groot of the Highlanders looks on during the round six Super Rugby Pacific match between Highlanders and Hurricanes at Forsyth Barr Stadium, on March 30, 2024, in Dunedin, New Zealand. (Photo by Joe Allison/Getty Images)

Former All Black halfback Justin Marshall has taken aim at Highlanders prop Ethan de Groot for ‘taking the p***’ during the Highlanders tense 7-6 win over the Force in Dunedin.


In a game plagued by stoppages due to errors and turnovers the spectacle suffered as the Highlanders and Force became entrenched in a messy game. Both sides committed 20 turnovers each, an obscenely high amount.

The speed of the game was also not helped when All Black prop Ethan de Groot needed a change of boots due to issues with grip on the playing surface.

De Groot’s on-field sprig change just 19 minutes into the contest included a full boot clean, with the medic scrapping off the grass while every player waited.

Talking on SENZ Radio and offering his dig of the week, Marshall believed that should any player need equipment changed, the game must play on instead of stopping to accomodate the needs of one player.

“I think what we are trying to do is keep the ball in play more, we are trying to speed the game up,” Marshall told SENZ Radio

“I feel the referees and ARs can recognise times to keep the game flowing when players are quite literally taking the p*** with slowing the game down.


“We saw it last night in the game between the Force and Highlanders where Ethan de Groot probably soaked up about four or five minutes while getting the sprigs in his boots changed.

“I get it, he needed to change them, it might have been a grip problem or whatever, but that can be done in the background while the game is still going on.

“If he didn’t have his equipment ready and right to go at the start of the game, and need to change it, well you are going to have to do that and survive with 14 men.

“We just need to be smarter. Often you see players going down for no real reason, they are way out of play not seriously hurt, we just need to keep the game flowing.


“Keep the game flowing as much as we can.”



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carlos 75 days ago

I was never allowed to adjust boots, or ever replaced, while I was playing and staying on the field. If I had issues, I had to go to the sideline and fix them myself. Then I would ask the ref to get back in. That would really make you deal with it FAST!

David 76 days ago

well maybe the match offficals should sort it out if they are worried about it and stop the clock

Andrew 76 days ago

I totally agree. I also believe that minor injuries unless dangerous must be treared OFF the field of play and the game continue with a temp replacement if necessary.

Red and White Dynamight 76 days ago

Quite right. Punish the time wasters. Its BS these time delays for non-injuries. The Boks have been using it for years now to slow down opposition and now its a scourge on the game. Put players like DeGroot on the sideline and restart play immediately. Watch how 5-6 min to fix your boots quickly becomes 1-2 minutes. Better still how about some personal professional management and you check the conditions/turf beforehand and get yourself better prepared. It might even help your team.

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