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Huge backlash as World Rugby issue 'warning' to Tu’ungafasi over Grosso tackle

By Nathaniel Cope
Ofa Tu’ungafasi

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World Rugby has come in for some stinging criticism over independent Citing Commissioner Freek Burger’s decision to issue All Blacks prop Ofa Tu’ungafasi with just a warning over the tackle on France winger Remy Grosso.


Former Wales international Jonathan Davies branded the decision “clueless”.

Tu’ungafasi insisted he never intended to hurt Grosso in a tackle that left the France wing with a double facial fracture.

Grosso, who scored France’s only try, came off in the second half following a tackle by Sam Cane and Tu’ungafasi.

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.

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.

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“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.

Fans were quick to criticise the World Rugby over the decision, one stating on Twitter “As usual one set of rules for ABs and another set of rules for the rest of the world. Players’ welfare anyone ?”


France head coach Jacques Brunel first described the incident as both “dangerous” and “illegal,” but has since retracted his statements after reviewing the tackle further.


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