Rob Howley Slams French Management & Questions Their Integrity Following Controversial Loss

Rob Howley is furious.

Interim Wales head coach Rob Howley has questioned the integrity of the French management team after they secured a last-gasp win over the Welsh yesterday in very controversial circumstances.

In one of the most bizarre finishes to a game in recent memory, France pulled a win out of the bag after nearly twenty minutes of injury time had been played. If you missed the game the controversy came just as the clock struck red.

The scrum has just collapsed twice, and on the third reset, referee Wayne Barnes stopped and asked the French prop Uini Atonio if he was okay to continue, or if he was suffering through injury. Atonio said he was fine, so the scrum went ahead, yet collapsed again.

France then decided that Atonio could not continue. A French medic chatted to Barnes, claiming the prop needed a HIA, as another medic brought Atonio off the field.

Barnes however, clearly knew the French were up to something, and put the medic on the spot.

– “Just hold on a minute, do you think he  needs a head assessment?” said Barnes
-“Yes.” said the medic.
-“OK, as a doctor you have said he needs a head assessment.”

Clearly disgusted by what was blatant trickery by the French, Rob Howley says what happened yesterday should never happen again on an international rugby field.

What happened in the last 10 minutes of that game, shouldn’t ever happen again on an international rugby field.
The process leading up to the change of the French tighthead, the way that occurred, we love our game too much to have those decisions. It’s hugely disappointing.
The process that occurred prior to him warming up before going back on, one of their coaches went outside the technical area, had a word with their doctor and within a minute of that, he went on and took their tighthead off.
I know Wayne (Barnes), I’ve been in his changing room a couple of times to talk about that process and the evidence suggests that it’s not in the integrity of our game.
Slimani was warming up prior to going back on. One of their coaches was outside the technical area and had a conversation with the doctor. He’s then gone on to take the tighthead off. The evidence suggests it wasn’t in line with the integrity of our game.

Howley later said that Barnes could not have done anything else about it:

Not really, I think the integrity of the French management team.
He’s a referee and he’s told a HIA needs to take place, he trusts that information.

What do you think? Should France be punished?

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