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Fuming Grosso vents fury over handling of double skull fracture

By Peter Thompson
Remy Grosso

France international Remy Grosso is surprised that New Zealand’s Sam Cane and Ofa Tu’ungafasi escaped punishment following their high tackles that fractured his skull.


The wing, who scored France’s only try in last weekend’s first Test at Eden Park, came off in the second half following a tackle by the pair in which Cane’s arm appeared to make contact with the head of Grosso, who was then hit in the face by Tu’ungafasi’s shoulder as he went to the ground.

The tackle was penalised, but both players avoided further punishment from referee Luke Pearce.

That followed the contentious decision to send Paul Gabrillagues to the sin bin after what was deemed to be a high tackle on Ryan Crotty. The All Blacks dominated in his absence and went on to win 52-11 after being behind at the break.

Grosso thinks Tu’ungafasi could have avoided making contact and that the referee might have made a different decision if he did not play for New Zealand.

“[Tu’ungafasi] sees me coming, he sees that I am down and he still makes the gesture to move his shoulder,” he said. 

“If the referee whistles foul, Cane must at least take a yellow, and their [prop] a red.


“If we do the same thing, we French get punished.”

Tu’ungafasi has since insisted he never intended to hurt Grosso. The second Test takes place on Saturday in Wellington.

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World Rugby came in for some stinging criticism over independent Citing Commissioner Freek Burger’s decision to issue Tu’ungafasi with just a warning over the tackle.


A press release from World Rugby said “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.

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