It has been a World Cup filled with controversies and things have gone from bad to worse for Martin Johnson. The news that Delon Armitage will miss the quarter final clash with France after being banned for one game follows the revelations that three of his players have had to apologise to a hotel worker.
The London Irish back was cited for a dangerous and reckless tackle on Scotland’s Chris Paterson. During a hearing in Auckland on Monday, Armitage was suspended for one week which rules him out of the knock out game on Sunday. He will be back for a semi- final tie if England progress. Sale Shark’s Mark Cueto should come in for Armitage.
Paterson was left needing treatment following the tackle during the Pool D clash in Auckland but the England back didn’t face any displicnary action at the time but pleaded guilty during a hearing. The Jucicial officer didn’t deem the tackle to be at the wrong end of the scale which resulted in a ban of just a week.
Meanwhile, France’s Fabrice Estebanez will miss the rest of the tournament following a three game ban. The centre was cited for a dangerous tackle during their shock defeat to Tonga on Saturday. He has been handed a three game ban which rules him out of the quarter final with England and a potential semi and final. He received a yellow card at the time but the judicial officer felt the tackle deserved further punishment. It’s a big blow for Lievermont’s French side as they prepare to face England this Sunday.
Lievremont conceded after the “shame” of Saturday’s shock defeat to Tonga that his squad were not united in pursuit of a first Rugby World Cup title – comparing his squad to the French football team, who refused to train at the 2010 World Cup following a row between then coach Raymond Domenech and striker Nicolas Anelka.