Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

France's Estebanez banned

France centre Fabrice Estebanez looks set to miss the rest of the World Cup after being hit with a three-week ban for a dangerous tackle against Tonga on Saturday.

He received a yellow card for the tip tackle on Tonga substitute Joseph Tuineau in the second half of Les Bleus' 19-14 Pool A defeat in Wellington, Marc Lievremont's side going on to clinch the losing bonus point needed to secure their quarter-final berth.

The 29-year-old has 48 hours in which to appeal the decision, but as things stand he will miss Saturday's last-eight clash with England in Auckland.

Estebanez was cited by independent citing commissioner Steve Hinds of New Zealand, and the case was heard in Auckland on Monday by the independent judicial officer Christopher Quinlan QC of England.

The news comes as a further blow for a troubled French camp, with fellow centre Aurelien Rougerie a major doubt due to a dislocated shoulder and captain Thierry Dusautoir also struggling with a shoulder problem.

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.


From Belfast Telegraph