The biggest talking point of the All Blacks’ 52-11 drubbing of France at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday was the tackle by Ofa Tu’ungafasi and Sam Cane on France’s Remy Grosso.
Cane’s arm struck Grosso in the face before Tu’ungafasi’s shoulder thundered into the jaw of the Frenchman – both Cane and Tu’ungafasi subsequently clashed heads.
A penalty was given at the time but referee Luke Pearce didn’t issue a card to either player for the tackle. This led to serious frustration from French supporters as earlier in the game Paul Gabrillagues was yellow-carded for ‘seatbelt’ tackle which many believed warranted a penalty at most.
There has been no citing but World Rugby have issued a statement today stating that Tu’ungafasi has received a “Citing Commissioner Warning” from independent Citing Commissioner Freek Burger.
The conclusion was that Tu’ungafasi’s tackle was dangerous but fell “just short” of a red-card offence. There were mitigating factors which led to the incident being deemed below a red card offence – the fact that the French player’s body position was lowering as he initially made contact with Cane.
The citing commissioner also agreed that Cane’s contact with Grosso warranted just a penalty and because this was dealt with on the pitch, there is no reason to pursue further action.
Here is the full statement:
Ofa Tu’ungafasi (New Zealand) has received a Citing Commissioner Warning from independent Citing Commissioner Freek Burger (South Africa) for a breach of Law 9.13 during the 59th minute of the New Zealand versus France match at Eden Park on Saturday 9 June.
Having reviewed all available camera angles, the Citing Commissioner considered Ofa Tu’ungafasi to have executed a dangerous tackle “just short of” red card level (in accordance with World Rugby Regulation 17), which caused injury to France winger Remy Grosso.
In considering the mechanics of the incident, the Citing Commissioner determined that there were mitigating factors which prevented the conduct from reaching the red card level in his opinion. These included Remy Grosso’s body position lowering as he went into contact with Sam Cane, who effected the tackle initially, immediately before Ofa Tu’ungafasi joined a dynamic tackle situation.
As a result, the independent Citing Commissioner issued a Citing Commissioner Warning – issued for acts of foul play that are viewed by the Citing Commissioner to come close to but do not warrant the player receiving a red card.
In respect of the tackle by Sam Cane, the Citing Commissioner agreed with the on-field action taken by the referee to issue a penalty against him, and therefore no further action was warranted in relation to Sam Cane.