LONDON, June 16 Six Nations Rugby has sent the French Federation a letter of reprimand after a match against Wales in Paris last March ended with 20 minutes of added time and the hosts accused of manipulating the rules to their advantage.
The tournament organisers said on Friday that its Untoward Incident Review Group had concluded France failed to comply with the "HIA (head injury assessment) protocol and/or the relevant laws of the game."
It added, however, that there was "no clear evidence" of any intent to obtain a competitive advantage. France won the game 20-18 with a try scored 20 minutes after the end of normal time.
Wales coach Rob Howley said then that replacement prop Uini Atonio's stoppage time substitution by starter Rabah Slimani was unlawful. "The integrity of the game has been brought into disrepute," he told a news conference at the time.
"What happened in the last moments of that game shouldn’t ever happen again. One of the coaches had a word with their doctor and within a minute of that their tighthead went off. The evidence suggests that it’s not in the integrity of our game."
Slimani had earlier been replaced but was allowed back on when Atonio went off for a head injury assessment. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin editing by Mark Heinrich)