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France lock Maestri faces hearing over criticism of referee Wayne Barnes

The fall-out from last weekend’s controversial clash in Paris continues.

FRANCE LOCK YOANN Maestri will face a disciplinary hearing after Six Nations Rugby commenced a misconduct complaint against him regarding comments made to the media about referee Wayne Barnes.

Yoann Maestri and Sam Warburton with Referee Wayne Barnes Maestri and Sam Warburton speak to Barnes last weekend. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

France’s victory over Wales in the Six Nations last weekend came in controversial circumstances, with les Bleus’ back row Damien Chouly barging over for the winning try in the 100th minute of play.

The score came after an interminable series of scrums close to the Welsh tryline in a bizarre passage of play that also included claims of a bite on Wales wing George North, and the suspicious replacement of France tighthead Uini Atonio for a Head Injury Assessment.

Six Nations Rugby continue to investigate the replacement of Atonio with Rabah Slimani – a superior scrummager who had already been taken off for Atonio earlier in the game.

However, Six Nations organisers have also confirmed that Maestri will be brought before a disciplinary hearing following his comments about referee Barnes after the game.

Speaking to French website Rugbyrama after his side’s 20-18 win, Maestri said he felt “a little disgust at having been refereed this way until the end [of the game].”

Maestri’s frustration centered around the fact that France were not awarded a penalty try in that madcap extra 20 minutes, when the vice-captain believed his side were the dominant force.

“The Anglo-Saxon referees constantly talk about fair play,” said Maestri. “They see us, the French, as cheats but it would be better to concentrate on this Anglo-Saxon composure, which sometimes lacks of bit of candour.”

Yoann Maestri celebrates after the game Maestri at the final whistle in Paris. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Maestri now faces punishment for his comments following last weekend’s game in Paris, although Six Nations Rugby has not confirmed a date for the hearing.

“Following an investigation, Six Nations Rugby has commenced a misconduct complaint against France vice-captain, Yoann Maestri, following comments made by him to representatives of the media about the referee following the same match,” reads this morning’s statement from the Six Nations.

“A disciplinary hearing will now be convened by the Chair of the Six Nations Disciplinary Panel, Professor Lorne Crerar.”

Meanwhile, Six Nations Rugby has also confirmed that Virimi Vakatawa will not face sanction after a disciplinary hearing was convened to consider his accumulation of a yellow card and citing commissioner warning in the Wales game.

Vakatawa was sin binned for a deliberate knock-on and later served a citing commissioner warning for a high tackle.

However, the Six Nations disciplinary committee yesterday decided that “although the player had been guilty of both acts of foul play, no further sanction was necessary.”

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Murray Kinsella

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