Tournaire cited for biting
French World Cup final preparations were thrown into disarray when star prop Franck Tournaire was cited by tournament disciplinary chiefs for biting.
The Toulouse tighthead prop faces a hearing in Cardiff tomorrow morning and if found guilty could be banned for anything between one and three years.
Tournaire is in the dock following an alleged incident during Sunday's semi-final between France and New Zealand at Twickenham.
All Blacks captain Taine Randell denied reports that he was Tournaire's alleged victim, saying: "I didn't think I was bitten - I don't have a clue what happened."
But New Zealand coach John Hart said: "There is a suggestion that another player might have been bitten, which is pretty appalling if that is the case.
"I didn't say anything after the semi-final because I didn't want to distract from the French performance, but subsequent remarks from my players were of events that have no place in the game.
"Things that happened don't have a place on the field. I've taken a very deliberate stance on this - there is a system in process, and I believe that that is how it should occur. At no stage after the French game did I consider making any citings."
The latest development is the last thing France coaches Jean-Claude Skrela and Pierre Villepreux wanted.
The French have already lost Tournaire's Toulouse colleague Christian Califano, who was cited and banned for 50 days after being found guilty of butting a Fijian front-row forward during last month's Pool C clash.
Cedric Soulette has plugged the vacancy caused by Califano's suspension, and Pieter De Villiers now finds himself on standby should Tournaire be kicked out of the final.
The French team is due to be announced on Thursday morning, some 24 hours after Tournaire appears before a World Cup disciplinary committee chaired by Neil Bidder QC.
If the case against him is proved then he can expect a lengthy spell out of rugby, although the situation could be further complicated if France lodged an appeal against any sentence, given that by the time an outcome is known the Millennium Stadium final would be only 72 hours away.
France crushed the All Blacks 43-31, but the citing of Tournaire has certainly taken some of the gloss off that monumental triumph.
Former Bath prop Kevin Yates received a six-month Rugby Football Union suspension last year after being found guilty of biting ex-London Scottish flanker Simon Fenn's ear, and Tournaire can expect to be harshly dealt with if convicted.