Officials to review bite incident and head injury
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