It has been an eventful few days for Kiwi forwards, as three were suspended following striking and punching incidents in round two of Super Rugby. Owen Franks, Kane Hames and Hayden Triggs will all be out of action for a few weeks.
To start with, Crusaders and All Blacks prop Owen Franks has been banned for two weeks for striking after he targeted Josh Hohneck of the Highlanders twice in their clash on Saturday.
Replays were shown of the Franks incident but the referee didn’t bother to check, so he stayed on the field. A citing followed however, and he was given what some may say is a fairly lenient sentence considering the intent he showed.
“The player submitted that he was attempting to remove the Highlanders player from the wrong side of maul,” SANZAR Judicial Officer Robert Stelzner said. “His intention was to remove the player, who was quite bigger than him, by grabbing him around the chest which would require some force, then using his bodyweight to attempt to force his opponent down and away from the ball.
“The player conceded that in these attempts, he struck his opponent with his arm in a careless way, but there was no malice intended. After taking all relevant facts of the incident into consideration, I found the incident to have a lower end entry point for breaches of 10.4 (a) Punching or striking which stipulates a two week suspension,” Stelzner noted.
In the same match prop Kane Hames of the Highlanders had a go at Crusaders lock Dominic Bird, clearly connecting with his cheek. It also wasn’t picked up at the time, but he has since been suspended for 5 weeks.
“After taking all relevant facts of the incident into consideration, I found the incident to have a mid-range entry point which stipulates a five week suspension,” Stelzner said.
“Several aggravating factors for the case included the injury to Mr Bird and a deterrent for this type of conduct occurring in the game, resulting in a two week increase to the sanction. This was then reduced by two weeks due to Hames’ remorse and prompt guilty plea for the incident.”
In the case of Blues lock Hayden Triggs, his incident was a bit different in that there wasn’t much footage available. All we could really see was him having a swing (or two) at Duane Vermeulen, causing the burly number eight to fall to the floor.
Triggs received a straight red card, putting his team at a disadvantage, which the duty judicial officer took into account. He also noted that Triggs was acting in retaliation, although he didn’t reveal what specifically provoked the punches.
“I found the incident to have a low-range entry point which stipulates a two-week suspension. This was then reduced by one week due to Triggs’ prompt admission of guilt, remorse for his actions and excellent disciplinary record in over 10 years of playing professional rugby,” Stelzner said.