Tackle was accident: France coach

France coach Jacques Brunel. Photo: Getty
France coach Jacques Brunel. Photo: Getty
France coach Jacques Brunel has retracted his statements in an aggravated rant following his side's loss to the All Blacks on Saturday night.

Brunel attacked the All Blacks post-match accusing them of using dirty tactics after his star winger Remy Grosso suffered a double fracture to the head.

Grosso left the game around the 60th minute following an incident that saw Sam Cane and Ofa Tuungafasi make contact with his head in a high tackle.

Initially, Brunel described the Grosso incident as "dangerous" and "illegal", but has retracted his statements after reviewing the tackle on video.

Speaking to French website Rugbyrama, Brunel said that he saw one image that made it look like a dangerous tackle and another which made him think it was accidental.

"On the first image, I said illicit. On the second, I think it's accidental. Although, in the same vein I think Gabrillagues' yellow card is hard," he said.

Shortly before, French lock Paul Gabrillagues was yellow carded for a high tackle on Ryan Crotty, despite the initial contact with the All Black centre not being high.

English referee Luke Pearce was officiating his first top-tier match and reached for the pocket immediately after the incident without going upstairs.

TMO replays of the incident would have shown Gabrillagues making contact around Crotty's shoulder, rather than the neck or head.

Pearce has been slammed for the disparity he showed between the two tackles and the sin-bin that had a significant impact on the final result of the game.

The All Blacks scored two tries while the French were reduced to 14 men and kept the momentum flowing for the remainder of the game to win 52-11.

When asked about Brunel's original claims, All Blacks coach Steve Hansen defended his team and their playing style.

"We have been called cheats for 100 years, haven't we? If you keep winning, people will find reasons I suppose," he said.

"Richie McCaw was the biggest cheat ever. But he didn't cheat he just played to the letter of the law.

"When Auckland were playing Canterbury they were the biggest cheats then Canterbury got on top and they were the biggest cheats … you have just got to roll with that sort of stuff."

Tuungafasi took to Twitter yesterday to apologise to Grosso following the incident that ended his June series.

"Remy, I hope you're recovering well. It was a physical game and it wasn't my intention to hurt you," he wrote on Twitter.

"I'm also gutted that I didn't get to see u after the game and u weren't well for me to visit u in hospital this morning before we left but I hope to catch up soon brother (sic)."

In a statement, the French Rugby Federation said that Grosso would stay with the playing group until he was given the all clear to fly home.

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