French rugby reprimanded for 'miscommunication' in controversial head injury call

France withdrew prop Uini Atonio for a head injury assessment in the late stages of a Six Nations game

French rugby reprimanded for 'miscommunication' in controversial head injury call

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The French rugby union federation has been reprimanded for failing to comply with head injury protocols in a Six Nations game due to 'miscommunication' from the French team, an independent review group has found.

An investigation into the controversial call in the late stages of their fixture against Wales also found no 'clear evidence' of an intent to gain a competitive advantage.

Wales head coach Rob Howley claimed that the "integrity" of the game had been brought into disrepute after French replacement prop Uini Atonio was taken off for a head injury assessment with first-choice player Rabah Slimani coming on.

Slimani had already been substituted but was allowed to return to the field when France's team doctor sent Atonio for a head injury assessment (HIA) in the 81st minute.

France Head Coach Guy Novès insisted at the time that the change was genuine after being advised by the medical team.

Howley however, expressed his suspicions that there was evidence to suggest that the head injury call was exaggerated. 

The independent review group concluded that France did not comply with Head Injury Assessment (HIA) protocols as a result of 'miscommunication' from the French team.

They also said there was no clear evidence of an intent to gain a competitive advantage.