All Blacks second-row Scott Barrett will be free to face France in the Rugby World Cup opener at the Stade de France on September 8.
Barrett was in danger of missing the clash through suspension, but World Rugby have confirmed that he will not be sanctioned further after his sending-off against South Africa.
The 29-year-old forward was shown two yellow cards during the warm-up fixture against the Springboks at Twickenham, which South Africa won 35-7.
Judicial Committee’s decision
His first yellow card was for repeated team infringements, while his second for breaking Law 9.20(a): “A player must not charge into a ruck or maul. Charging includes any contact made without binding onto another player in the ruck or maul.”
🟥 The incident which resulted in Scott Barrett's second yellow card and the All Blacks being reduced to 14 men for the rest of the game.pic.twitter.com/JvzSRYjnHZ
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) August 25, 2023
The Foul Play Review Officer during the game judged that Barrett’s second yellow card did not meet the red card threshold, and the independent Judicial Committee that he faced on Monday agreed.
“New Zealand’s Scott Barrett is free to play after an independent judicial committee decided that his ordering off in the RWC 2023 Warm Up match against South Africa on August 25, 2023 was sufficient and that no further sanction was necessary,” a World Rugby statement read.
“The Committee found that Appendix 4 of Regulation 17 requires the Judicial Committee to apply a sanction for the offence of persistent offending, not for the substantive offences relating to each yellow card (see Regulation 17, Appendix 4, at B.1).
“Appendix 4 at B 2(c) provides that: “The … judicial committee may decide that sending off was sufficient … in the following circumstances … (c) any of the temporary suspensions were awarded for so-called technical offences (including following a team warning) not involving a breach of laws 9.11 to 9.28 inclusive.
“The independent Judicial Committee found that sending off was a sufficient sanction in this case because the player was sent off for two yellow cards (referred to as temporary suspensions in the appendix), and the first of those yellow cards was for a technical offence following a team warning.”
The decision is a huge relief for the All Blacks, who would have had just two recognised second-rows for the fixture had Barrett been banned.
Ian Foster named just four locks in the squad for the tournament, one of those being Brodie Retallick, who will not be fit in time for the clash at the Stade de France.
Meanwhile, blindside flanker Shannon Frizell could also fill the role, but he too is not likely to be available for the game as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
READ MORE: Twickenham stars dominate our Rugby World Cup warm-up Team of the Week
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