15 Jun 2018

Whitelock fends off Grosso complaints

5:12 pm on 15 June 2018

Stand-in All Blacks captain Sam Whitelock has diplomatically fended off any danger of being dragged back into the tackle controversy of the first test against France.

France's Remy Grosso (L) walks from the field after running into All Blacks Ofa Tu'ungafasi and Sam Cane during the Steinlager Series rugby match between the All Blacks and France at the Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday the 9th of June 2018. Copyright Photo by Marty Melville / www.Photosport.nz

French wing Remy Grosso leaves the field at Eden Park. Photo: Photosport

French winger Remy Grosso suffered a double facial fracture in last week's game in Auckland as a result of a tackle involving All Blacks forwards Sam Cane and Ofa Tu'ungafasi.

Other than a penalty against Cane, neither Cane of Tu'ungafasi were sanctioned during the match and have not been cited in the aftermath.

Grosso reignited the debate on Friday when he told French media he was struggling to understand how the All Blacks pair escaped any real punishment.

But asked about the comments at the All Blacks captain's run at Westpac Stadium, Whitelock said they were doing the best to focus on their own performance, rather than what was motivating the French.

"I don't read the French newspapers, so it's pretty easy for me [to avoid]," the veteran lock quipped.

"We probably don't read [the papers] as much as people would like. We are just worrying about ourselves and that's the easiest thing for us to control."

Sam Whitelock in 2016.

Sam Whitelock in 2016. Photo: Photosport

Grosso, who was ruled out of the remainder of the series and has since headed back to France, made the comments speaking to French newspaper Midi Olympique.

The man who scored the opening try in the first test at Eden Park claimed the punishment would have come if the tacklers were French

"If we do the same thing, we French get punished," he said.

"If the referee whistles foul, Cane must at least take a yellow, and their [prop] a red."

The day following the first test, Tu'ungafasi posted his well wishes to Grosso on social media and said it wasn't his intention to hurt the French winger.

Grosso said he did not hold any hard feelings towards Tu'ungafasi but did believe the contact could have been avoided.

"He sees me coming, he sees that I am down and he still makes the gesture to move his shoulder."

While neither Cane or Tu'ungafasi was cited for the incident, the latter did receive a warning from World Rugby for his shoulder making contact with Grosso's head.