British & Irish Lions

France manager claims prop was gouged before red card incident

Mohamed Haouas (Getty Images)
Mohamed Haouas (Getty Images)

France team manager Raphael Ibanez said on Monday he has asked the Six Nations to look into Scotland's Nick Haining allegedly gouging Mohamed Haouas before the Les Bleus prop was sent off in the weekend's loss at Murrayfield.

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Haouas was shown a red card in the 37th minute of Sunday's defeat for punching Scotland's Jamie Ritchie but French television footage claim to show Haining making contact with the Montpellier front-rower's eyes in a scuffle beforehand.

"We have found some quite revealing images that I have transferred to the disciplinary commission," Ibanez told a press conference.

"We have filled our dossier as precise as possible. It's now in the hands of the disciplinary commission."

"The act (Haouas' punch) was justifiably punished but we need to understand why. It wasn't by accident," he added.

Ibanez added Haining's act could also have warranted the Scotland loose-forward being sent-off.

"I indeed think that it could have been penalised by a red card," he said.

Head coach Fabien Galthie, who had led les Bleus to three wins from as many games in this year's competition, said his side's inexperience was highlighted by the incident.

Haouas was making just his fourth Test appearance while France's average age was less than 25 years old.

"We're a team in the process of being built. If Momo fell to the ground at that moment, it would have stopped there," he said.

"We are lucky to have images that weren't all proposed by the TV directors which is sometimes subjective.

"It's part of playing away from home. If Momo goes to ground calmly, things could have been different," the former France captain added.

France's hopes of a first Grand Slam were ended as Scotland won 28-17.

The defeat leaves Ibanez's outfit alongside England on 13 points at the top of the table but they will not be able to clinch the title next Saturday as their game against Ireland in Paris has been postponed due to coronavirus.

Ireland's match against Italy, scheduled for Saturday, and England's trip to Rome next weekend have been postponed due to the spread of Covid-19.

The decision to call off the game against Ireland emerged after the press conference.

Asked about the possibility of it being postponed Ibanez had replied: "It's a topic in the news. We have no official information right now. We're still ready to play the match against Ireland on Saturday."

The former France hooker and captain added: "There is obviously what's at stake in a sporting manner which is unresolved and which leaves question marks for the supporters and the public in general."

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