Rugby World Cup: Scott Barrett cleared to play tournament opener after red card against South Africa

Scott Barrett has been cleared to play in the All Blacks' Rugby World Cup opener against France on September 9.

Barrett, 29, has fronted an independent World Rugby judiciary, after he was shown two separate yellow cards and a subsequent red in the record defeat to South Africa at Twickenham.

The first yellow card came after repeated infringement from the All Blacks, but the second came following a reckless cleanout on Springboks hooker Malcolm Marx. On review, the onfield yellow-card decision was not upgraded to a red card.

The independent disciplinary committee, chaired by Sir James Dingemans (England), former international Olly Kohn (Wales) and former referee Valeriu Toma (Romania) deemed two yellow cards were sufficient punishment.

Losing Barrett would have been a huge blow to the All Blacks for their World Cup opener. Coach Ian Foster's side are already without lock Brodie Retallick with a knee injury, while Shannon Frizell - who was named as locking cover, when the initial 33-man squad was chosen - is also missing with a hamstring injury.

If Barrett was suspended, Sam Whitelock and Tupou Vaa'i would have been the only fit locks available to the All Blacks to face the World Cup hosts.

The All Blacks have relocated to Germany, where they'll undergo their final preparations for the World Cup. 

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