Rugby-Maestri faces misconduct complaint after referee comments


LONDON, March 24 (Reuters) - France vice-captain Yoann Maestri faces a misconduct complaint following an investigation into the extraordinary conclusion to the Six Nations Championship clash against Wales in Paris last weekend, tournament organisers said on Friday.

Toulouse lock Maestri will have a disciplinary hearing after critical comments he made about referee Wayne Barnes following a chaotic conclusion which featured 20 minutes of added time before France scored a converted try to seal a 20-18 win.

"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," organisers said.

After the match, the 29-year-old Maestri, who had been frustrated that France's scrum dominance in the final exchanges was not rewarded as the set-piece was constantly reset, was outspoken about the performance of English official Barnes.

"He (Barnes) told us we were not dominant enough," Maestri told reporters. "Anglo-Saxon referees always talk about fair play but the reality is that they think we're cheats.

"When you are repeatedly crushed in a five-metre scrum, you concede defeat. There's a complicity between Anglo Saxons and it is in these moments that you realise it. It was unbelievable."

Six Nations Rugby also announced it would be continuing its investigation into how France used their replacements during the final period of the match.

It prompted fierce criticism from Welsh officials with interim head coach Rob Howley saying the game's integrity had been brought into disrepute. (Reporting by Ian Chadband, editing by Ed Osmond)

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