France have slammed the decision to clear England forward Gareth Ellis for Sunday's final of the autumn international series.
The former Wests Tigers second-rower, who is joining Hull in 2013, was put on report by New Zealand referee Shane Rehm during last Saturday's 44-6 win over the French following a high tackle that left Cyril Stacul with concussion. The incident was scrutinised by a Rugby Football League match-review panel which ruled that Ellis would face no further action.
France coach Aurelien Cologni told a press conference at the City of Salford Stadium, venue for Sunday's game, that the player ought to have been given at least a one-match ban.
"It was a tough game and I like strong defence but I did not agree with the contact," Cologni said. "It was not really fair. The player was injured and cannot play next weekend, so it's a bad consequence for him and I cannot agree with that. It should have been a minimum one game."
Cologni said that Stacul, who could not remember the 14th-minute incident, was one of three players returning to France because of injury.
England coach Steve McNamara welcomed the decision to clear Ellis of foul play, insisting there was no intent to harm involved in the tackle.
"First and foremost I hope Cyril is okay," he said. "Gareth's available and I never expected him not to be. I thought it was an unfortunate challenge. These things sometime happen in a contact sport."
Back-rower Gregory Mounis, who has a dislocated shoulder, and prop Mickael Simon, who sustained a chest injury, are the other players to leave the camp, while Cologni has called up Carcassonne centre Teddy Sadaiou and Catalan prop Julien Bousquet, who were on stand-by in the south of France and will link up with the squad at their Manchester base.
Back-rower Andrew Bentley was also initially drafted in but will not now be available after picking up a suspension playing for Lezignan at the weekend, leaving Cologni with 19 fit players.
McNamara has no such worries and is set to pick from a full-strength 24-man squad, although he will check on the fitness of Wigan loose forward Sean O'Loughlin, who missed Saturday's game with a hamstring strain, when they report back to Loughborough University on Tuesday.
- Sports & Recreation
- Gareth Ellis
- Cyril Stacul
- Rugby Football League