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France boss Saint-Andre criticises officials for not acting on Pape "assault"

Published 12/10/2015

Sean O'Brien, right, was the subject of frustrated scrutiny from France boss Philippe Saint-Andre
Sean O'Brien, right, was the subject of frustrated scrutiny from France boss Philippe Saint-Andre

France boss Philippe Saint-Andre has hit out at officials for failing to act on what he branded Sean O'Brien's "assault" on Pascal Pape in Sunday's 24-9 defeat to Ireland.

Ireland are watching nervously for any citing against flanker O'Brien, who appeared to strike France lock Pape in the first minute of the intense World Cup clash in Cardiff.

Ireland powered to a victory that secured a last-eight meeting with Argentina on Sunday, with O'Brien landing the official man-of-the-match award.

France will face defending champions New Zealand in Cardiff on Saturday night thanks to their heaviest defeat to Ireland since 1975, with head coach Saint-Andre insisting O'Brien should have faced disciplinary action during the match.

"It was an assault after 23 seconds of the game," said Saint-Andre.

"I hope the next time the TMO will really do his job.

"Since the beginning of the competition on whatever matter is concerned, try or injury, we return to a review of the images.

"In this case they do no such thing."

Neither referee Nigel Owens nor Television Match Official (TMO) Graham Hughes picked up the incident between O'Brien and Pape in Sunday's Pool D decider in Cardiff, but footage of the tangle quickly spread around the internet.

Ireland boss Joe Schmidt's immediate reaction following Sunday's match was to offer hope that O'Brien will not face retrospective censure for his clash with Pape.

"I truly hope not," said Schmidt when asked if he feared O'Brien would receive a citing.

"He was being held at the time, he swung but I don't think he was looking directly at the player but it's not for me to determine.

"It's not a closed fist. I'd be hopeful but it's not a decision for me. Hopefully it's not something that impacts on us.

"Considering the dressing room at the moment, we can ill-afford to lose another player, particularly a player of Sean's experience and standing in the group."

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