Owen Franks of New Zealand, right, breaks pass Dane Haylett-Petty of Australia in the Investic Rugby Championship test match between the New Zealand and Australia at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand, August 27, 2016.
Owen Franks of New Zealand, right, breaks pass Dane Haylett-Petty of Australia in the Investic Rugby Championship test match between the New Zealand and Australia at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand, August 27, 2016. AAP Image - SNPA, Ross Setford

Wallabies told to put up or shut up

I am sorry to bring up the Owen Franks incident again, in a week when rugby has been plagued by major issues, but I was left dumbfounded after learning how the whole non-citing process played out.

It's understood the citing commissioner approached the Wallabies not once but three times to ask if they wanted to lodge an official complaint. On all three occasions, they said no. So while the world cried foul, Brian O'Driscoll let rip on Twitter, Stephen Jones, that great All Blacks fan, claimed foreign players now risked "physical danger" coming to New Zealand, those who should be most incensed aren't. Confused? You bet.

Remember, Australia coach Michael Chieka felt Franks had a case to answer immediately after the test as he launched into the officiating during that match.

It just gets better. From my understanding, Sanzaar have now informed Cheika that if he points the finger publicly, he better be prepared to back it up.

Why would he not tell his management team to green light the citing process if he believed Kane Douglas had been eye-gouged?

That is not to say the citing commissioner is without major fault, either. When he decided not to cite Franks, he did so because the broadcast angle was not damning and because the Aussies did not pursue it. But that did not have to be the end of it. He still had ample time and opportunity to revisit the incident once new angles and footage came to light.

It would have been sensible to let a judicial panel deal with the incident. Instead, mud-slinging and accusations the All Blacks get preferential treatment followed.

The moral to this story: the judicial process is flawed and the Wallabies are a confusing bunch. It's little wonder, then, that earlier this week Andrew Hore, the Kiwi in charge of the Waratahs, called for an overhaul of Sanzaar's judicial process. He urges greater transparency to ensure corruption never becomes an issue with the sport. Sounds sensible to me.


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