Tuesday 22 October 2019

Watch: All Black pair escape citing over double face fracture incident

Agustin Pichot, Vice-chairman at World Rugby. Photo: PA

Jack de Menezes

The vice-chairman of World Rugby has questioned the decision not to cite New Zealand pair Sam Cane and Ofa Tu-ungafasi for their tackle on Remy Grosso that left the France wing with a double facial fracture during Saturday's first Test, with pressure being put on the New Zealand Rugby Union [NZRU] for answers as to why this was allowed to happen.

English referee Luke Pearce has been heavily criticised by past players, media and fans on social media for failing to sanction either Cane or Tu'ungafasi with more than a penalty for the high tackles that left Grosso in hospital.

The France wing suffered fractures to his sinus and ethmoid during Saturday's 52-11 defeat by the All Blacks and has not been able to fly home due to doctors refusing him medical clearance on grounds of concern about how his skull fractures will react to the cabin pressure inside an aeroplane.


Despite Grosso's extensive injury, neither Caen nor Tu'ungafasi were carded during the match even after Pearce reviewed the collisions with television match official (TMO) George Ayoub, and both have escaped a citation and will be free to play this weekend in the second Test in Wellington.

That is yet to be clarified by the NZRU, although the 48-hour citing deadline has passed without any announcement, and matters were not helped yesterday when the former Argentina scrum-half Agustin Pichot - now vice-chairman at World Rugby - expressed his belief that the high tackles required action.

Writing on Twitter, Pichot attached the words "should be cited [in] my view" to a replay of the incident.

The incident is under further scrutiny given the yellow card that Pearce showed French lock Paul Gabrillagues for an adjudged high tackle that television replays have since suggested was legal. Pearce issued the yellow card without a TMO review, with the French camp furious at his decision.

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World Rugby are unable to act on the matter until action is brought by the match citing commissioner, but Pichot's comments will add significant pressure to the growing sense of injustice over the incident that has left Grosso stranded in New Zealand and facing a lengthy period out of the game.

Grosso's teammate, Bernard Le Roux, visited Grosso on Sunday and admitted that his teammate is in a bad way.

"I feel sad for him," said Le Roux. "I saw him yesterday, he was all swollen up and he looks really bad.

"Hopefully he recovers well and is back for next season. Thankfully this is the end of the season, so we have a break after this." (© Independent News Service)

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