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Monday Aug 29, 2016

Owen Franks somehow escapes punishment after fingers in Wallaby face

Owen Franks somehow escapes punishment after fingers in Wallaby face
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The entire rugby world seems to be united in shock that Owen Franks escaped punishment for what looks to be clear contact with the eyes during the second Bledisloe Cup Test on Saturday. There has been no citing, despite another angle looking very incriminating.

Only one angle was shown during the match (the live angle, as seen above) but since then another has been made public by an Australian newspaper, showing what looks to be Franks’ fingers making contact with the face and eye area of the Wallaby lock.

It came at a lineout early in the game, with the All Blacks scoring their first try shortly afterwards on their way to a 29-9 victory in Wellington.

The incident sparked outrage on social media and even led Ireland great Brian O’Driscoll, who was famously dumped on his head and shoulder against the All Blacks in 2005, to tweet World Rugby asking what is going on.

While it’s another example of a player not clearly sticking his fingers in the actual eyes of the opposition, it certainly appears to match the stipulated criteria that we have seen countless players punished for in recent years, ie: a player cannother make “contact with the eyes or eye area”.

Wallaby coach Michael Cheika was confident it would be picked up by the citing commissioners, saying: “They couldn’t miss it, it was pretty in the open. It’d be pretty hard for the match review to miss.”

However nothing has come of it, and New Zealand coach Steve Hansen hasn’t made the relationship between the two bitter rivals any better, by stating: “I’ve seen the footage and I agree with the independent person who said there’s nothing to answer for.

“There’s a process and that process has been followed, and whoever was running it, he’s obviously seen all the angles and believes there is nothing to answer for.”

Hansen claimed that there were other similar incidents throughout the match.

“In the same game, you can go to two or three other lineouts where they’re driving and the same thing happens. It’s an unfortunate by-product I think of the mauling rules that we have because the only way you can get there is through clamouring over the top, and then that creates a response, people try and pull them out of the way and the only thing they can use is the head area.

“We’ll look at that and try and make sure we don’t go around that area because it creates a problem. But if there’s no case to answer, there’s no case to answer.”

48 Comments

  • drg
    12:15 PM 04/09/2016

    I don't necessarily think it's such a thing as "he got away with it because he's a kiwi" it's more, how come incidents like this tend to be much more harshly punished when it comes to the likes of the French, Argies and a few others... Even take the gouging by Burger in that Lions tour many moons ago, that was very strange that it didn't amount to much... Especially given the evidence of that incident and this one...

    Reply
  • whiteafrican
    3:11 PM 02/09/2016

    I posted this on another page but worth re-posting here with a few edits. The purpose of the "no hands on a player's face" law is to prevent players getting hurt. Could Franks have hurt Douglas? Sure - Douglas's arms were pinned and Franks could easily have hurt him if he wanted to. Did Franks hurt Douglas? Why don't we hear from the man himself: "My eyes were fine and it all happened so quickly I was on to the next thing in the game." [Then, in response to a direct question about eye gouging:] "I didn't think of it like that. It was an All Black trying to stop me driving through the maul, arms everywhere and everything happening in a few seconds. I've got no issue at all". So, in summary: Ref - Saw it. Said it was nothing. SANZAR match reviewer - Saw it. Said it was nothing. Alleged victim - Felt it. Said it was nothing. BUT players do get cited for this sort of thing, it's totally inconsistent, and the rules around citing and post-match bans are an absolute dog's breakfast and need to be sorted promptly. However, this "he got away with it because he's from NZ" conspiracy rubbish is just stupid. First up, players have done far worse to the All Blacks and got away with it (e.g., Hartley (elbow to the face) on McCaw; Greyling (elbow to the face) on McCaw; Cooper (knee to the head) on McCaw; etc.). The problem, as outlined above, is inconsistent application of the rules. Second, the stats don't back up your conspiracy theory. Since Hansen took over in 2012 (i.e., 59 tests ago) the All Blacks have been penalized 47 more times than their opponents, and been given 6 more yellow cards (28 to 22). Whining and making up nonsense conspiracy theories about another team because you don't like them is pathetic and demeans rugby as a sport.

    Reply
  • incinerate
    10:30 PM 01/09/2016

    Holy f*cking sh*t I did not know about this. Why do they have to cheat? They're good enough to win everything without resorting to that.

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    9:31 PM 01/09/2016

    Wow, been a while since we've had a discussion this intense on RD.

    Reply
  • vladimir
    7:10 PM 01/09/2016

    My favorite one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRuW5wHsHmY

    Reply
  • stantheman
    3:40 PM 01/09/2016

    No dear, I dont share his pov. I am not blind to it, I am not saying he did that deliberately but he did it any way, he also did quite a few high tackles along the mach. I never said it was on purpouse. On the Rwc 15 Galarza got 13 weeks for eye gouge, it was on purpouse? Don't think so. Right ban? YES. So Dr G you are mistaken by saying i am blind to Foxtrots pov, thats simply not true. Besides I don't understand wht he gets so pumped up about having a discussion.

    Reply
  • oliver
    1:48 PM 01/09/2016

    yes, there are many examples..... 2 of the worst off the ball incidents ever seen in world rugby were commited by ABs. The O'Driscoll dumping. Result: no card, no citing, no ban. Andrew Hore punch (from behind.....) on Bradley Davies: no card, one game ban (!). These things happen consistently, whether you want to admit it or not.

    Reply
  • vladimir
    1:00 PM 01/09/2016

    Whereas they are sometimes victims of such incidents, the problem is that the AB are never punished for theirs. You find french, aussies, british, etc, receiving bans even though it happens with variable severity. But AB always seems to escape completly unscathed even when they commit the most outrageous acts. See for instance : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bDX-8w91pnU 1. warning the SA player during the incident. 2. okay i was in front, but what does my assistant want to say? 3. After the whistle, reversed, dropped in the air, no safety = just reversed penalty. 4. 'spear tackle, sir?' 'Not sure' and carry on. And there are many examples of cases like this one.

    Reply
  • drg
    12:29 PM 01/09/2016

    You may have a point....

    Reply
  • drg
    12:12 PM 01/09/2016

    In the perfect world Jamie, you'd be right. The problem is with this era of professional rugby, there is a constant need to stamp out 'grey areas' and try and tie up all lose ends which were never really taken advantage of. Professional players require professional coaches, this requires professional backing, professional money and as such a professional lawyer.... so IF we had a situation like this 10 years ago, the lawyer would have said "yes we can see a hand on his face, but can we definitely tell if there was gouging done? Have we got any medical reports, witness statements etc to uphold a gouging call? If not then my client has zero to answer for as he is a professional sportsman and finds gouging abhorrent and therefore he must be let off"... players don't want to be known as tattle tails, medical reports might not show up 'attempted gouging'... So the safest way to stop all these grey areas is to make a point of punishing hands on faces - occasionally in the game we see a hand touch a face and then let go instantly, sure that's fine but it is in itself another grey area... but then with Franks, his hand was on the face for longer and more than once.... How long to we allow this? If Franks genuinely didn't gouge then it seems fair he wasn't punished for gouging, however there were fingers in the eye area.... this is undeniable, and although it may seem harsh to ban someone for an accident, it happens a heck of a lot in rugby, and I suppose it is what we cry out for - consistency.... Franks not being banned is an inconsistency with eye ruling.

    Reply
  • drg
    12:02 PM 01/09/2016

    I'm really not liking the idea of jumping on the 'punish him' bandwagon, because although Hernandez didn't change direction or duck, the 'ball carrier' switched at the last second, leading to the 'tackler' having to adjust his position and make a split second tackle - albeit a hideously poor one. That being said, your first sentence is a very interesting one. It's difficult to say if I wholeheartedly support it - things are relative and also, as the standard of tackling should increase with professionalism, we'd also expect the standard of ball carrying to increase.... which would then outweigh the standard of tackling... which suddenly would need to increase... which outweighs ball carrying...etc... so someone has to be the worst person on the pitch... However, his tackling technique was apparently piss poor most of the night... which isn't a good thing.

    Reply
  • drg
    11:57 AM 01/09/2016

    @Stan, not really sure how you can say "It has no point arguing with someone that is totally blind to others pov and has no interest in trying to understand what they are telling him." when clearly you're being blind to Foxtrots pov.... I agree with Foxtrot that there was no way that Mohoje intentionally tried to head butt Hernandez... however I do believe that his tackle was somewhat reckless.... and as previously mentioned I believe there were instances where players have been deemed reckless or at least called reckless by fans and pundits, for head on head clashes... whether that is worthy of a ban or anything else is not something I'd want to see in the game...

    Reply
  • foxtrot
    7:52 PM 31/08/2016

    You are the ones that are blind, seeing things that are not there. WTF is even your guys definition of a head butt, anytime someone's head hits another? I'm not blind to Mohoje's high tackling during the game; however your claim that he went and inentionally headbutted Hernandez in the split second he had to tackle him is beyond ridiculous.

    Reply
  • stantheman
    3:19 PM 31/08/2016

    It has no point arguing with someone that is totally blind to others pov and has no interest in trying to understand what they are telling him. Probably he is just sad SA isn't showing any improvement. So stubborn

    Reply
  • foxtrot
    3:12 PM 31/08/2016

    We aren't talking about the headlock. Do you realise you don't have to tackle someone at waist level? Have you never seen someone tackle while upright? Looking at his arms tells me he makes contact around Hernandez's arms but because they both get knocked out by the head knock he never gets to complete the wrap since both of them are now dropping to the floor.

    Reply
  • incinerate
    1:56 PM 31/08/2016

    Mate, look at his arms and tell me he's not aiming above shoulder level. He never ever meant to go for the waist, he went straight for the head area. The guy was reckless during the whole game and it cost us a great freaking deal. Look at this: https://youtu.be/yQe59UM3Hog?t=850 Do you not think he should've been sent off and/or cited? Or am I delusional because it was just a 'cheeky and harmless headlock'?

    Reply
  • jeri
    12:06 PM 31/08/2016

    The only thing they can pull is NOT the head area. While the videos don't offer clear evidence of eye-gouging, Franks clearly had a lapse in discipline and reached for the face. Twice. The justifications that were given simply don't satisfy

    Reply
  • danknapp
    11:41 AM 31/08/2016

    Two years? You're being daft and hysterical again, Oliver. It would have been at least three.

    Reply
  • drg
    9:52 AM 31/08/2016

    Like the majority of the worlds issues, the minority are the ones that are the most dangerous and make the most noise...

    Reply
  • drg
    9:51 AM 31/08/2016

    Tbf Foxtrot, I can see where they're coming from given some of the rulings (or comments) since the last RWC where heads have clashed and players have been deemed reckless.... I think it's this concussion safety stuff that is sending people into overdrive. Head clashes are awful, but I don't know where the line is for clumsy/reckless....

    Reply
  • foxtrot
    9:47 AM 31/08/2016

    Furthermore, how can it be considered a headbutt when at the moment of impact he is turning his head? Who in their right mind tries to headbutt someone with their temple?

    Reply
  • foxtrot
    9:40 AM 31/08/2016

    Really, really? Please tell me how it was high? Because they hit heads? Your delusional. Don't talk nonsense about Argies getting the full face of the law. SA has long been under closer scrutiny than the rest for foul play.

    Reply
  • stroudos
    9:02 AM 31/08/2016

    Wel I'd rather not have players whining to the ref about perceived injustices. That I'm afraid is a slippery slope towards football with all its handbag-waving remonstrating. Players should be able to get on with their game and have confidence that this type of incident will be picked up and dealt with by the disciplinary bodies.

    Reply
  • upthejumper
    10:40 PM 30/08/2016

    Exactly - Pocock got a week's ban for throttling Michael Leitch in a maul during the Brumbies Chiefs game.

    Reply
  • reality
    7:46 PM 30/08/2016

    I think the excuse of 'he just has a poor tackling technique' goes out the window in professional sport. His job that he's paid for is to have good technique, so if he's so incapable of doing that then he shouldn't be allowed to play, because he's a danger for other players. Hernandez didn't drop or change direction at the last second so there's really no mitigating factor here.

    Reply
  • stantheman
    2:53 PM 30/08/2016

    Clearly we see things differently. So poor Moahje with his poor tackle technique, so Hernandez leaves the game unconcious. A clash oh heads was Etzebeth-Sanchez on the first game. THIS was clearly a headbutt.

    Reply
  • bnations
    1:53 PM 30/08/2016

    See posts from Guest above for exhibit #1. It takes more than an idiot minority to be heard on live TV, which is what amadahn refers to at the start of this thread. The Kiwis have earned their reputation for petulance, let them enjoy it.

    Reply
  • guy
    1:41 PM 30/08/2016

    I read somewhere that World Rugby can't do anything about the SANZAR ruling. Not sure is that goes for every decision to either cite or not cite a player. http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/all-blacks/83659114/international-media-slam-all-blacks-cloak-of-invisibility-over-owen-franks-incident

    Reply
  • drg
    1:23 PM 30/08/2016

    Even a 1 week ban could be seen as an acknowledgement of player wrongdoing - such as you stated, 'recklessness' but nothing is a bit farcical...

    Reply
  • drg
    1:22 PM 30/08/2016

    It's a fine line between things like this encouraging the conspiracy theorists and things like this actually being the proof of the conspiracies... I personally don't buy the idea of a mandate being sent out to all the banning bunch to tell them if the bloke is french multiply the approved ban by 10. However as a non French fan, I am starting to see more and more trends of the French appearing to get a more raw deal than other teams. This could be multiple reasons such as repeat offenders, repeat offences in a club, plus the fact France has undeniably had a more colourful rugby history within their D2! However consistency is all that is needed and I'm sure that NZ tends to have a slightly lighter deal when it comes to bans... None of the above is due to me 'hating NZ' for being top, I admire their skill, I just think if the rest of the world was banned as much as NZ or NZ banned as much as the rest of the world then no one would have any complaining to do...

    Reply
  • oliver
    10:25 AM 30/08/2016

    Sempere got a 15 weeks ban and there was no video evidence at all. it's gotten so bad that the French Federation doesn't even recognize the rulings of European citing panels anymore! something must be done at some point, it's becoming a total farce. https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2016/apr/14/france-rules-world-rugby-rfu-laurent-sempere

    Reply
  • colombes
    10:18 AM 30/08/2016

    I will never buy the 'conspiracy' theories But this is the kind of decisions which reinforce the skeptics Especially from Argies, Fijians or Frenchs fans 'double standards' point of view

    Reply
  • oliver
    10:14 AM 30/08/2016

    [ insert rant about if-he-was-French-he'd-be-looking-at-2 year-ban here ]

    Reply
  • foxtrot
    8:14 AM 30/08/2016

    Here is the incident. Nothing more than a head clash due to Mohaje's poor tackle technique coupled with the fact he had to rapidly change the person he was trying to tackle. https://youtu.be/yQe59UM3Hog?t=31m32s

    Reply
  • foxtrot
    8:02 AM 30/08/2016

    I'm not joking. Show me how he headbutted him in a tackle.

    Reply
  • breakaway
    7:13 AM 30/08/2016

    The ones I know are just fine. As with any fan base, it's a mistake to judge everyone by the idiot minority.

    Reply
  • upthejumper
    6:29 AM 30/08/2016

    Well said, and objective too. The comparison to other recent high-profile bans is startling: Chris Ashton's 10-week ban, head-high grapple, made eye contact Joe Marler's 2 weeks for petulant kick CJ Stander: one-week ban for Lambie collision Alesana Tuilagi 5 weeks for running over Japan's Harumichi Tatekawa in RWC ...let alone all the ones listed above!

    Reply
  • bnations
    6:09 AM 30/08/2016

    Kiwi rugby fans aren't generally known for being classy.

    Reply
  • breakaway
    1:51 AM 30/08/2016

    I agree with you Lloyd. Even if it's with the palm of the hand, the face is just a no-go area and there should be some official recognition of that in a case like this, whether or not further action is taken.

    Reply
  • amadahn
    12:30 AM 30/08/2016

    Plenty of comments on the foul play so wont add to that. In the middle of watching the recorded version of the game and pretty surprised at the extent of booing from the "fans"every time Foley takes a penalty kick. Would have thought the dominance of the ABs would lead to a proud and dignified fan base who would have the sense to keep the trailer-trash from opening their gobs and whistling like a bunch of morons. Pity....

    Reply
  • upthejumper
    11:04 PM 29/08/2016

    So 'guest' anyone with a contrary opinion is a 'half monkey idiot'? Charming! Now, take off your All-Black-Blinkers and watch it again: He grabbed his face, twice, then when the ref warned him off he tried to throttle him. That's a multi-week ban right there. If he was trying to maul legally he would have been grabbing his chest and arms, not his face and throat!

    Reply
  • bnations
    9:52 PM 29/08/2016

    I wonder how good New Zealand's record would be under neutral refs?

    Reply
  • london1
    9:28 PM 29/08/2016

    But isn`t his hand in the face of a rival "reckless" in the first place. Which has been banned before. People have been banned for "reckless" actions or behavior. I must say, it just seems once again very inconsistent on behalf of World Rugby...

    Reply
  • london1
    7:48 PM 29/08/2016

    That was my same thought.

    Reply
  • london1
    7:48 PM 29/08/2016

    Lets remember that in the first half Herrera was yellow carded (correctly) because of a late no arms tackle. Mohoje was very consistent during the whole game, which makes me wonder , if he would have been yellow carded for his second or third offense; Hernandez would have ended the match. Aditionally Argentina, due to this clash between Hernandez and Mohoje, had to place a third row as a center and their replacement center as number 10.... Imagine if SA would have won the game.... Makes me wonder

    Reply
  • stantheman
    7:35 PM 29/08/2016

    you got to be joking

    Reply
  • foxtrot
    7:27 PM 29/08/2016

    He did a number of high tackles, I give you that; but in no way did he give a headbutt-high tackle to take out Hernandez. It was just a clash of heads, nothing more.

    Reply
  • stantheman
    6:23 PM 29/08/2016

    Galarza got 13 weeks ban..It is sad that depends on who does it. Criteria not the same for every team.

    Reply


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