Law 9 (7) (b) of the Laws of the Game requires that a player must not do anything that may lead the match officials to consider that an opponent has committed an infringement.
The sanction for that is a penalty. On Saturday night, the French captain infringed that law.
After he and Marika Koroibete came into contact, Anthony Jelonch took three steps back and looked to see that he had knocked on.
While still upright, he clasped his nose with his left hand, dropped to his knees and then the ground. While there, he brought his right hand up to cover his left and commenced to writhe around.
He lay there for a good seven seconds, motionless, until just after the whistle was blown to stop play. Only then, did he look up to see what the ref was doing. All play-acting.
How do we know?
The part of his head he clutched, in such obvious distress, was not that part which came into contact with Koroibete. No blood, no fractured nose, no swollen cheekbone.
Nothing to show that there had been a collision at all. As soon as the whistle blew, he took his hands from his face. None of that happens when a man is truly injured.
One would be forgiven for thinking he will get a jersey at the next Oscars. Possibly not though. Only good actors get an invitation.
In this day and age of TMOs, that sort of action by Jelonch may alert the match officials to consider an opponent has committed an infringement, namely a dangerous tackle.
That is a penalty for which he can be cautioned, yellow carded or sent off.
In fairness, the officials might have looked at the tackle, anyway. But that is not the point.
The Foreword to the Laws provides:
“The object of the game is that two teams of 15, ten or seven players each, observing fair play, according to the laws and sporting spirit, should by carrying, passing, kicking and grounding the ball, score as many points as possible, the team scoring the greater number of points being the winner of the match.”
Observing fair play and sporting spirit are the operative words here.
Regardless of your thoughts about whether Koroibete should have been sent off, the French player should have been yellow carded. His conduct was despicable.
Other codes let that snivelling dissembling go unpunished. Rugby should not.
It must be stamped out and hard.
If not, it will become rife.