Six Nations clash between France and Wales reviewed after alleged bite and head injury
By Mark Ashenden
Last Updated: 20/03/17 11:38am
Six Nations bosses have opened an investigation into the chaotic scenes at the end of the France-Wales game in Paris on Saturday.
Wales' interim head coach Rob Howley said the "integrity of the game had been brought into disrepute" after France replacement prop Uini Atonio went off for a head injury assessment, with starting tighthead Rabah Slimani returning during 20 minutes of second-half stoppage time.
Slimani had earlier been replaced but the France team doctor insisted that Atonio needed an HIA, therefore allowing Slimani to go back on as France laid siege to Wales' line through a series of scrums.
Launching an investigation into the incident, a Six Nations Rugby statement read: "SNRL is aware of concerns about the head injury assessment that took place towards the end of the match and is looking into the matter.
"No further comments will be made until the closing of the citing window and the conclusion of the enquiry."
Six Nations organisers added that an independent citing commissioner would examine an alleged bite on Wales winger George North.
North approached English referee Wayne 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.
Wales conceded a try and 100th-minute conversion to lose 20-18 at the Stade de France and centre Jonathan Davies claimed the events did not sit comfortably with him.
Davies said: "It was a very long extra time, if you call it that. It's a tough pill to swallow. It was disappointing how it ended. If the prop is complaining about a head injury, player welfare is important. It just didn't seem right."
Howley, meanwhile, did not hold back in his assessment. "What happened in the last 10 minutes of that game shouldn't ever happen again on an international rugby field," he said.
"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 is hugely disappointing.
"The process that occurred prior to him warming up before going back on, one of their (France's) 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.
"The evidence suggests that it's not in the integrity of our game. The referee is told an HIA needs to take place, and he trusts that information. It wasn't his fault in the last 10 minutes. He has listened to a medic."
France - whose victory saw them finish third in the final Six Nations standings above fifth-placed Wales - could face disciplinary action if anything is proven against them.