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Rob Howley Slams French Management Over The Biggest Controversy From France/Wales

Rob Howley Slams French Management Over The Biggest Controversy From France/Wales
By Gavin Cooney Updated

Even if you planned solely to tune into Ireland/England, you won't have missed the farce that became France/Wales: the game ended in Wayne Barnes pushing a rock up a hill for twenty minutes, as scrums were reset solely to be collapsed and reset again. While the Welsh tactic in collapsing the scrum was cynical - the reason a penalty try was not given, according to Barnes, was the failure of the French try to make any progress - the biggest controversy came from the French.

With the clock hitting red, Barnes awarded France a penalty metres from the Welsh line. The French chose to take the scrum, and thus began the twenty-minute saga. On the third reset, Barnes stopped and asked the French prop Uini Atonio if he was okay to continue, or if he was suffering through injury. Atonio said he was fine, so the scrum went ahead. (It collapsed, and was then reset...again).

It was then adjudged by France that Atonio could not continue. A French medic popped up on the field conversing with Barnes, as another medic brought Atonio off the field. He appears to justify the substitution by claiming that Atonio needs a Head Injury Assesment. Barne had this to say:

- Just hold on a minute, do you think he  needs a head assessment?”


-OK, as a doctor you have said he needs a head assessment.

Atonio then took off down the tunnel alone, and Slimani was allowed to come back on. Wales allege that France broke the rules here, as the medic came onto the field at the behest of a member of the management team, who left their technical area to issue the instructions, which is against the rules.


Afterward, Rob Howley was furious, questioning the French integrity. These quotes are via Wales Online:

What happened in the last 10 minutes of that game, shouldn’t ever happen again on an international rugby field.

The process leading up to the change of the French tighthead, the way that occurred, we love our game too much to have those decisions. It’s hugely disappointing.

The process that occurred prior to him warming up before going back on, one of their coaches went outside the technical area, had a word with their doctor and within a minute of that, he went on and took their tighthead off.

I know Wayne (Barnes), I’ve been in his changing room a couple of times to talk about that process and the evidence suggests that it’s not in the integrity of our game.

Slimani was warming up prior to going back on. One of their coaches was outside the technical area and had a conversation with the doctor. He’s then gone on to take the tighthead off. The evidence suggests it wasn’t in line with the integrity of our game.

Howley later said that Barnes could not have done anything else about it:

Not really, I think the integrity of the French management team.

He’s a referee and he’s told a HIA needs to take place, he trusts that information.

The rules state that a prop who has already been subbed (as Slimani had) is only allowed return to play if a player is forced to undergo a HIA or the prop on the field is injured.

There will be another controversy to deal with over the coming days, too: George North claimed to have been bitten by a French player during the extended finish. Wayne Barnes agreed that the bite marks on North's arm were clear, but upon review by the TMO, they couldn't find conclusive footage.

[Wales Online]


See Also: Player Ratings As Ireland Dig Deep To Kill The England Grand Slam

See Also: Watch: Rory Best's Outstanding Moment Of Leadership Against England

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