Rugby World Cup: All Blacks to fight Ethan de Groot red card after prop sent off in win over Namibia

The All Blacks believe they can successfully appeal a red card issued to prop Ethan de Groot, who faces an anxious wait to learn his fate at the Rugby World Cup.

On Saturday, 25-year-old de Groot was shown a yellow card that was upgraded to red for a high shot on Namibia's Adriaan Booysen, as the All Blacks took a comfortable 71-3 victory in Toulouse.

The red card, which was shown after a review from the television match official (TMO), was just the latest at the World Cup, where officiating could be considered murky at best, and inconsistent at worst.

Already, England's Tom Curry has been handed a two-match ban after a high shot against Argentina, in which a yellow card was upgraded to red.

Ethan de Groot.
Ethan de Groot. Photo credit: Getty Images

Meanwhile, France's Romain Taofifenua's yellow card for a similar act against Uruguay to de Groot's against Namibia did not receive further punishment.

Post-match, All Blacks coach Ian Foster labelled the decision to show de Groot red as "frustrating", but his side will consider their options moving forward.

However, Foster also asserted his confidence in de Groot's tackle being shoulder on shoulder, as opposed to shoulder on head - a fact that could yet spare the prop from further punishmen. 

The All Blacks have already got the rub of the green from World Rugby's judiciary this season, when Scott Barrett's red card against South Africa was rescinded after a hearing.

And given the All Blacks now don't play again until they meet Italy in Lyon on September 30, assistant coach Scott McLeod reiterated Foster's approach, but confirmed they will do their best to see de Groot exonerated.

"Not a lot's changed from last night, to be fair," said McLeod. "We're just having a good look at it, and gathering our information, what we see, and waiting to hear back from World Rugby around the process and what we do. 

"We think there's enough in there that we can defend it. We'll be gathering our evidence and our information, and we're still in the process of doing that."

Curry's ban for his red card against Argentina earned a two-game suspension. Should de Groot suffer the same fate, he would be unavailable for the All Blacks' last two pool games – against Italy and Uruguay.

Should de Groot be banned for three or more games, his World Cup could well be over altogether.

Meanwhile, as World Rugby cracks down on contact with the head, don't expect the flurry of cards to die down any time soon.

Any and all contact with the head will be taken into account as foul play, as player welfare is prioritised.

But for the All Blacks, who have now seen three players shown cards in their last three games – considering Will Jordan's yellow in defeat to France – discipline is becoming a worry.

For McLeod, though, who takes charge of the All Blacks' defence, work will continue to be done to ensure the letter of the law is followed by his side.

"It's something we can't control," McLeod continued. "It's just the way they see it, the way they adjudicate it.

"What we can control is what we do. We work bloody hard every day to make sure our execution of the skill is within the law.

"That's what we're working on."