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'I was a bit surprised the referee didn't see it' - Wainwright on getting elbowed by Vahaamahina

By Online Editors
France's Sebastien Vahaamahina is shown a red card by referee Jaco Peyper in Oita (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Wales flanker Aaron Wainwright admitted “it wasn’t nice at the time” after he was elbowed in the face by France lock Sebastien Vahaamahina during a gripping World Cup quarter-final in Oita.


Vahaamahina was sent off following the 47th-minute incident before Wales went on to win 20-19 and secure a last-four place.

“It was a maul and he had me by the neck to start with,” Wainwright said. “I was trying to get the referee’s attention, and then the elbow came in.

“I was a bit surprised the referee didn’t see it to start off with, but thankfully the television match official pulled it up and it was dealt with. We put the pressure on afterwards and saw the game through. I am fine at the moment. It wasn’t that nice at the time.”

Wainwright scored a first-half try – his first for Wales – as the Six Nations champions ultimately fought back and prevailed through Ross Moriarty’s late touchdown that Dan Biggar converted.

(Continue reading below…)


“The ball popped up and I can’t really remember what happened apart from sprinting towards the line,” Wainwright added.

“We have been building for the past 18 months and the belief has always been there. Coming in at half-time behind, we still had belief we could get the job done.

“It is a massive achievement for the team. It’s great to come away with the win and look forward to the semi-final and eyes on the final as well. To hopefully come away with a trophy at the end of it would be nice. It showed we can grit it out and get the job done, even if it wasn’t the prettiest.”


Wainwright, supporting a fully-grown moustache, explained his stag-impression celebration. “I’ve got a sevens team back home called The Stags, so that was what the celebration was about,” he said.

“With the moustache, all my mates went to Prague on a boys’ holiday and said they were going to grow moustaches. They said if I grew one they would crop me into the photographs just so I didn’t feel like I was missing out. I certainly don’t feel like I am missing out now, being here.”

– Press Association 

WATCH: Warren Gatland’s media conference after Wales’ win over France in Oita

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RUGBYPASS+ The players set to profit from Wales' new gameplan The players set to profit from Wales' new gameplan