England, Scotland in clear after tunnel fracas

by AFP

No disciplinary action will be taken following the alleged tunnel fracas between Scotland and England players before Saturday's Six Nations match in Edinburgh.

Six Nations Rugby wrote to both teams seeking clarification over what happened as the players left the pitch after their warm-ups at Murrayfield prior to Scotland's shock 25-13 victory. 

After concluding its investigation, Six Nations Rugby said "no clear evidence of violent conduct or similar against any individual player" had been found.

Footage emerged showing England centre Owen Farrell running between players from both teams before shoving Scotland's Ryan Wilson to one side as he made his way to the changing room. 

The Scotland No. 8 turned, and other players were trying to join the scuffle before the footage ended.

"Six Nations Rugby gathered material from the RFU (Rugby Football Union) and SRU (Scottish Rugby Union), as well as from the BBC and the match officials," said a statement from Six Nations Rugby. "It also considered footage of the incident.

"It concluded that there was some evidence of pushing and shoving in the tunnel at the relevant time but no clear evidence of violent conduct or similar against any individual player.

"Accordingly, Six Nations Rugby will be writing to the SRU and the RFU to remind them and their respective players of their obligations to uphold the reputation of the tournament at all times, but no further disciplinary action will be taken. Six Nations Rugby will also remind all unions of their and their players' obligations."

Meanwhile a separate disciplinary hearing on Wednesday cleared Wilson of making deliberate contact with the eye area of opposing No. 8 Nathan Hughes.

Had the Glasgow captain been found guilty of gouging, he could have been suspended from Scotland's concluding Championship matches away to Ireland and Italy.

A statement issued on behalf of the disciplinary committee explained its decision by saying they had "considered that the contact with the eye area had been reckless (rather than intentional), light and fleeting, and had come about as a result of the player's attempts to grab his opponent's shirt during an off-the-ball scuffle with his opponent".

The committee added that after "careful consideration" they concluded that the foul play did not warrant a red card and dismissed the citing.

Saturday's loss ended reigning Six Nations champions England's hopes of a second Grand Slam in three years.

Meanwhile England coach Eddie Jones said England would be "working around the clock" to address the problems revealed by the loss to Scotland ahead of trying to revive their Six Nations campaign against France.

The Scots bossed the breakdown and exposed gaps in England's midfield defence on the way to a 25-13 victory at Murrayfield on Saturday.

This result threw the Six Nations title race wide open, with Ireland - now the only side who can complete a Grand Slam this season after winning all of their three opening matches - in pole position.

"We've done an exhaustive investigation into finding out what wasn't right and there are some things that we've found we could have done better," Jones said on Wednesday.  

"We've been coming up with solutions to those over the last couple of days. We had a really good meeting yesterday (Tuesday)."