Of­fi­cials to re­view bite in­ci­dent and head in­jury

New Straits Times - - Sport -

PARIS: Six Na­tions or­gan­is­ers said on Sun­day that an in­de­pen­dent cit­ing com­mis­sioner would ex­am­ine an al­leged bite on Wales winger Ge­orge North and the dis­pute over a con­tentious head in­jury at the end of France’s dra­matic vic­tory over the Welsh.

France ran out 20-18 win­ners on Satur­day thanks to a con­verted try in the 100th minute, English ref­eree Wayne Barnes play­ing 20 min­utes of ex­tra-time.

The French camped out in the Welsh 22m area and a se­ries of scrums saw fron­trow play­ers from both sides come and go.

One in­ci­dent par­tic­u­larly riled Wales coach Rob How­ley: the sub­sti­tu­tion of Uini Ato­nio, France bring­ing pre­ferred tight­head prop Rabah Sli­mani, known for his dev­as­tat­ing scrum­mag­ing power, back on to strengthen the set-piece.

France coach Guy Noves in­sisted it was a gen­uine call by his medics for a head in­jury, a non­se­quitur for a ref­eree obliged to fol­low strict con­cus­sion rules that al­low teams to re­place in­jured props with front row team­mates who have been al­ready subbed off.

But How­ley saw it oth­er­wise, say­ing there was “ev­i­dence to sug­gest that the in­tegrity of the game has been brought into dis­re­pute” by France fab­ri­cat­ing the head in­jury call.

Six Na­tions or­gan­is­ers said in a state­ment re­leased on Sun­day that they were “aware of con­cerns about the head in­jury as­sess­ment that took place to­wards the end of the match and is look­ing into the mat­ter.”

In the fran­tic fi­nale to the match, North ap­proached Barnes to com­plain he had been bit­ten on his right up­per arm.

Barnes ac­knowl­edged that there were bite marks but the tele­vi­sion of­fi­cial could not see any act of foul play.

“An in­de­pen­dent cit­ing com­mis­sioner was present at the match and will be re­view­ing all rel­e­vant in­ci­dents in the usual way,” Six Na­tions or­gan­is­ers said.

“In the event that he wishes to make a cit­ing com­plaint in re­spect of the al­leged bite (or any other in­ci­dent), be­cause he con­sid­ers that there was an act of foul play that war­ranted a red card, he is re­quired to do so within 48 hours af­ter the con­clu­sion of the match (al­though in cer­tain cir­cum­stances, for ex­am­ple where he is un­cer­tain as to the iden­tity of the player(s) con­cerned, he is per­mit­ted to make his cit­ing com­plaint af­ter the 48hour dead­line).” AFP

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