<
>

France and Wales wait on ruling over claims George North 'bitten'

Photo by David Davies/PA Images via Getty Images

France and Wales are awaiting a decision from match citing commissioner John Montgomery over claims Welsh wing George North was bitten during the frantic finish to Saturday's Six Nations finale in Paris.

Montgomery has until 5pm on Monday to decide whether to take action over the alleged incident, with accusations flying in the wake of a controversial game that lasted more than 100 minutes and saw France snatch a dramatic 20-18 victory through Damien Chouly's try.

When made aware of the claims in the post-match press conference, France head coach Guy Noves was quick to insist he had no knowledge of foul play before biting his own hand and declaring: "I can bite myself and I'll have a bite mark."

Wales counterpart Rob Howley, who saw his side finish the campaign in fifth place, accepts that the footage shown to the referee at the time yielded little but joined North's team-mate Justin Tipuric in confirming the Northampton star had been left with a suspicious wound.

Howley stated: "The evidence was inconclusive in terms of the images that were shown to the referees, and ultimately they've made a decision on that and it is absolutely fine. I am 100 per cent behind that decision in terms of the pictures they saw.

"Obviously, there is evidence to suggest otherwise on George's arm. The evidence suggests there is a bite.

"The referee only had one angle. I haven't seen any other angles, so unfortunately it is inconclusive and you move on. I am sure you can ask George if you can have a look at his arm. There is evidence to suggest that there is a bite."

Flanker Tipuric added: "He (North) came in to the dressing room and you could see a big bite mark on his arm. He went to the ref and talked to him about it but there is a big bite mark there. That's all I have seen."

World Rugby's sanctions for biting range from 12-week to 24-week suspensions. No France players have been named in connection to the alleged incident.

Six Nations Rugby said in a statement on Sunday that allegations of foul play would be conducted in the customary fashion.

The independent citing commissioner has 48 hours after the final whistle to make a complaint over foul play, although SNR confirmed this deadline can be extended if identification is an issue.

"An independent citing commissioner was present at the match and will be reviewing all relevant incidents in the usual way," the SNR statement read.

"In the event that he wishes to make a citing complaint in respect of the alleged bite [or any other incident], because he considers that there was an act of foul play that warranted a red card, he is required to do so within 48 hours after the conclusion of the match [although in certain circumstances, for example where he is uncertain as to the identity of the player(s) concerned, he is permitted to make his citing complaint after the 48-hour deadline]."