October 20, 2019 / 11:16 AM / a month ago

Rugby-France question Welsh winning try but no dispute over red card

    By Nick Mulvenney
    OITA, Japan, Oct 20 (Reuters) - France coach Jacques Brunel
said he had no complaints about the red card shown to Sebastien
Vahaamahina during the World Cup quarter-final loss to Wales on
Sunday but was unhappy that the winning try was allowed to
stand.
    Lock Vahaamahina was red-carded for elbowing Welsh flanker
Aaron Wainwright in the face in the 49th minute of the 20-19
defeat at Oita Stadium, which sent the French crashing out of
the tournament. 
    "The red card, I don't contest it," Brunel told reporters
after the match. 
    "I think it was a reflex action. He did make contact with
the face, we can't deny it. I don't have a problem with the
decision. But there were other decisions I didn't agree with."
    Most notable among them was the one by referee and TMO to
let Ross Moriarty's 74th-minute try stand despite the ball
appearing to go forward after it was stripped from the hands of
a French player.
    "On the last scrum, we lost the ball," said Brunel. "I would
like to see the last try again, because I think there is a
player who grabbed the ball and then it went forward.
    "So I'd like to see that decision again and I’m a little
disappointed with that."
    Brunel said the red card clearly changed a contest which
France had dominated in the first half, scoring three tries with
some brilliant running rugby and taking a 19-10 lead into the
break.   
    "Of course, we're playing with 14 men and it's difficult,"
he said. 
    "But I want to stress the quality of our team. We showed
courage, we showed a lot of panache. We had to make up for the
numerical disadvantage. We had lots of opportunities to score
and I want to stress the quality of the French team."
    It was only the third time that France had failed to reach
the semi-finals at the World Cup and brought a sorry end to the
reign of Brunel as coach. 
    "The overall performance is not positive, we wanted to go
further, so in some respects it's a failure," he conceded. 
    "But nobody expected us to get out of the pool, nobody
expected we would win the quarter-final. 
    "We showed we were capable of winning but we didn't so
that's the outcome so of course we are disappointed." 
    France will host the next World Cup in 2023 and Brunel said
he thought there were seeds of a side that might be able to
mount a title challenge on home soil.    
    "It will be necessary over the next four years to build up a
team that will have results and that will give them confidence.
That's probably what we lacked," he added.
    "For the future generations, we were one of the youngest
teams in this competition. These guys will keep on learning.
This is going to make them mature by going through this.
    "What they experienced today will teach them a lesson. I
think there's a brighter future for this team."
    Captain Guilhem Guirado, who described the defeat as
"cruel", said France should have put the game beyond the reach
of the Welsh long before the end. 
    "We shouldn't have made all the mistakes that we did," he
said.  
    "We wanted to be the best... today in the game we showed we
are not far from reaching that level."

 (Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Tony Lawrence)
  
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