French reprimanded over prop substitution

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 12:24
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UPDATE: The French Rugby Federation (FFR) has been reprimanded over the controversial substitution of prop Uini Atonio in the match with Wales on March 18, Six Nations Rugby said Friday.

However, a disciplinary panel ruled there was no clear evidence that France had sought to gain a competitive edge by the move in the dying minutes of the game.

The Untoward Incident Review Group (UIRG Group) report - an independent panel headed by Lorne Crerar - whilst criticising the French coaching staff for 'some miscommunication', judged there was no intention in replacing Atonio to gain an advantage over their opponents.

The match in Paris ended in a 20-18 win for France, with referee Wayne Barnes allowing an extraordinary 20 minutes of added-on time at the end.

With France 13-18 behind and camped on the Welsh line, a series of scrums took place late in the match as they went in search of an equalising try.

In the midst of this, Atonio was replaced - despite telling Barnes he was not injured but his back was hurting - by preferred tighthead prop Rabah Slimani, known for his devastating scrummaging power.

France coach Guy Noves insisted it was a genuine call by his medics under the head injury assessment (HIA) procedure, which would leave Barnes with no choice but to allow France to bring back the previously substituted Slimani under rules governing the treatment of suspected concussion

"The UIRG concluded that the FFR had not complied with HIA protocol and/or the relevant laws of the game, and to this effect a letter of reprimand has been issued by Six Nations Rugby," read the statement from the Six Nations organisers.     

"Following detailed review of the available evidence it was established that once the HIA protocol had been initiated and the player had entered the medical room, the FFR conducted the process appropriately although there was some miscommunication from the French team.

"There was no clear evidence that there was any intent to obtain a competitive advantage in the match with regards to the FFR's failures in complying with the HIA protocol and/or laws of the game."  

Agence France-Presse

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Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
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RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
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Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
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Team P W D L Pts
England 0 0 0 0 0
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France 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0