Namibia’s Johan Deysel suspended for five games for tackling Antoine Dupont | Rugby World Cup 2023

Namibian captain Johan Deysel has been effectively banned for five games for his dangerous tackle on Antoine Dupont, which resulted in the France captain suffering a facial fracture and being forced to miss the Rugby World Cup.

Deysel received a red card last week for the incident during France’s 96-0 win in Marseille and later apologized for the online abuse. An independent judicial committee ruled that the tackle reached the highest end of the severity scale, a 12-match ban, but also reduced the maximum penalty by 50% following his apology and his good record to date.

Deysel has indicated he will attend World Rugby’s Tackle School, a coaching intervention program, in a bid to have his one-game ban lifted. The first game of his suspension is Namibia’s final World Cup Pool A game against Uruguay on Wednesday, where Deysel was excluded from the team selection by coach Allister Coetzee on Monday.

The committee took into account the “degree of recklessness involved in the offense, the vulnerability of the victim player and the significant injury caused to him” when making Deysel’s finding. It’s rare for a Judiciary Committee to start at the high end of the scale, with Dupont’s injury and the ensuing outcry perhaps the biggest factor.

Namibia’s Johan Retief will also miss the game against Uruguay after defense coach Chrysander Botha appeared to confirm that a spider bite had ruled out the back-row striker. “You can’t predict something like this will happen, but we will miss him,” he said. Coetzee had previously only said that Retief was suffering from a “strange” injury. “He developed an abscess near his chest area, which means the wound was open,” Coetzee said cryptically at Monday’s team announcement.

Dupont underwent surgery and will remain in France’s squad at the tournament “under medical supervision”, although no official timetable has been announced for when he is expected to play again. A best-case scenario would be the quarter-finals on the weekend of 14/15. October.

“It’s definitely a big blow to lose a player like Antoine. He is our captain, he is the best player in the world,” said center Arthur Vincent as the hosts prepare to face Italy on Friday. “But unfortunately we have already experienced situations like this. We are solidly positioned as a group, we have experienced that before. Things will come by themselves. There is not just one captain. We have a group of leaders who have been working together for four years. All players know their roles and bring something to the table.”

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While Maxime Lucu or Baptiste Couilloud will replace Dupont in the number 9 jersey, flanker Charles Ollivon will return to the captaincy he previously held for two years from 2020.

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