Six Nations: Disciplinary action not ruled out over France v Ireland HIAs

Referee Nigel Owens explained to Johnny Sexton why France's Antoine Dupont was being replaced under a HIA. Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Six Nations organisers have not ruled out disciplinary action against France after they referred two Head Injury Assessment (HIA) incidents from their defeat to Ireland to a review panel.

French halfbacks Matthieu Jalibert and Antoine Dupont suffered knee injuries in the defeat but both were replaced under the HIA protocols, allowing Maxime Machenaud to re-enter the game and replace Dupont with four minutes to go, rather than him having to be replaced by an unused substituted.

And after a review by the independent HIA review processor appointed by Six Nations, two incidents have now been referred to the review panel, the second stage of World Rugby's HIA review process.

"The HIA Review Panel, which is chaired by Roger Morris [Wales], will consider the incidents and report to Six Nations," a statement said. "It can make recommendations [among other things] as to further education and training that is required, and/or whether disciplinary action should be taken by Six Nations.

"It is anticipated that, due to the need to consider various materials and contact a number of individuals, the HIA Review Panel is unlikely to finalise its report for a number of days."

Match referee Nigel Owens insisted that the match doctor had said Dupont was leaving the field to undergo a HIA, but an unhappy Johnny Sexton then remonstrated with him, as Dupont hobbled off.

It is not the first time the use of the HIA has come under scrutiny, after France were reprimanded for failing to follow protocol in their victory over Wales in last year's tournament.