France's Maestri faces misconduct charge

Fri, 24 Mar 2017 12:40

NEWS: France vice-captain Yoann Maestri was left facing a misconduct charge Friday in the latest disciplinary incident to arise out of last week's hugely controversial Six Nations match against Wales.

Maestri is alleged to have criticised English referee Wayne Barnes after the end of an extraordinary match, featuring 20 minutes of extra time, with the Toulouse lock reportedly saying: "Anglo-Saxon referees always talk about fair play, but the reality is that they think we [the French] are cheats."

A Six Nations statement issued Friday said: "Following an investigation, Six Nations Rugby has commenced a misconduct complaint against France vice-captain, Yoann Maestri, following comments made by him to representatives of the media about the referee.

"A disciplinary hearing will now be convened by the chair of the Six Nations disciplinary panel, Professor Lorne Crerar."

Meanwhile, France wing Virimi Vakatawa was cleared to resume playing immediately, having been cited after receiving a yellow card during 'Les Bleus' 20-18 win.

Vakatawa was sin-binned following a deliberate knock-on, and then warned by the match citing commissioner for a high tackle.

But officials decided he had received sufficient punishment already, the Six Nations statement adding: "The disciplinary committee concluded that although the player had been guilty of both acts of foul play, no further sanction was necessary. The player is able to resume playing immediately."

However, the Six Nations have yet to make a decision on arguably the most contentious incident of the match - the dispute over whether France prop Uini Atonio had indeed suffered a genuine head injury that required him to be replaced.

"Six Nations Rugby is continuing its investigation into replacements made in the latter stages of the same match," Friday's statement said. 

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 all 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 for a head injury, 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.

But Wales caretaker coach Rob Howley said there was "evidence to suggest that the integrity of the game has been brought into disrepute" by France fabricating the head injury call.

France eventually got the try they wanted in the 100th minute, with the ensuing successful conversion securing a win.

Monday saw the Six Nations announce that no action would be taken following an allegation from Wales wing George North he had been bitten during the match, saying they had been unable to conclude that any individual player had committed foul play.

France's last-gasp score gave them a victory which saw them finish third in the Championship, with Wales fifth.

Agence France-Presse

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Sat, 18 November 2017
Worcester Warriors v Northampton Saints 12h00 Sixways
Italy v Argentina 13h00 Florence
Leicester Tigers v Sale Sharks 14h00 Welford Road
Wales v Georgia 14h30 Cardiff
England v Australia 15h00 Twickenham
Wasps v Newcastle Falcons 15h30 Ricoh Arena
Ireland v Fiji 16h30 Aviva Stadium
Scotland v New Zealand 17h15 Edinburgh
France v South Africa 19h45 Paris
Sun, 19 November 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Harlequins 14h00 Sandy Park
Leicester Tigers v Bath 14h00 Madejski Stadium
Fri, 24 November 2017
Ospreys v Glasgow Warriors 22h00 Liberty Stadium
Ulster v Treviso 18h05 Kingspan Stadium
Leinster v Dragons 18h35 RDS Stadium
Cardiff Blues v Connacht 18h35 Cardiff Arms Park
Newcastle Falcons v Gloucester 18h45 Kingston Park
Leicester Tigers v Worcester Warriors 18h45 Welford Road
Sale Sharks v Northampton Saints 19h00 AJ Bell Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Fri, 17 November 2017
Gloucester v Saracens 23 | 17
Tue, 14 November 2017
France XV v New Zealand 23 | 28
Sat, 11 November 2017
France v New Zealand 18 | 38
Ireland v South Africa 38 | 3
Wales v Australia 21 | 29
England v Argentina 21 | 8
Scotland v Samoa 44 | 38
Italy v Fiji 19 | 10
Sat, 04 November 2017
Cardiff Blues v Zebre 37 | 8
Connacht v Cheetahs 23 | 15
Edinburgh v Ospreys 37 | 10
Barbarians v New Zealand 22 | 31
Kings v Ulster 36 | 43
Japan v Australia 30 | 63
Fri, 03 November 2017
Scarlets v Treviso 20 | 8
SIX NATIONS
MORE LOGS
Team P W D L Pts
England 0 0 0 0 0
Ireland 0 0 0 0 0
France 0 0 0 0 0
Scotland 0 0 0 0 0
Wales 0 0 0 0 0
Italy 0 0 0 0 0