World Rugby's Pichot criticises Franks decision

New Zealand All Blacks prop Owen Franks. Photo / Brett Phibbs.
New Zealand All Blacks prop Owen Franks. Photo / Brett Phibbs.

Agustin Pichot, the former Argentina halfback and now World Rugby's vice-chairman, has criticised the process by which All Blacks prop Owen Franks escaped without a citing after the recent test against Australia.

Franks' hand went close to Wallabies' lock Kane Douglas' eyes during a maul at Westpac Stadium but he wasn't cited, creating a backlash around the world.

Now Pichot has weighed in, saying the "process" was wrong.

"In World Rugby, in Sanzaar and in Six Nations, we need to find consistency because at the end of the day fans want that," Pichot told Stuff. "They want to understand what's going on and at the moment nobody can. I'm not saying Franks should be punished or not. What I am saying is you need consistency."

Pichot used the example of Pumas lock lock Mariano Galarza, who was suspended for nine weeks after being found guilty of eye-gouging All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick during the team's opening match at last year's Rugby World Cup, as an example of the inconsistency.

"I cannot explain to Galarza who was suspended for an offence on an All Black when he touched his face and the same case or worse last weekend doesn't even get cited. It's wrong," Pichot told Stuff.

"How do I explain to Galarza when he phoned me that he was left out of the World Cup from the start to the finish and another player in the same situation one year later doesn't even get cited.

"What do I tell him as an administrator of the game? I am completely embarrassed. He dreamed of playing in a World Cup and I can now not tell him that it was fair.

"What is fair? Not citing Franks, or giving a punishment to Galarza? Where do I draw a line?

"We are the ones that administrate the game and we need consistency. I'm not criticising the citing officer. I'm not criticising the player. I'm criticising the consistency."

Douglas recently told the media he felt no animosity towards Franks, and that he didn't feel he was eye-gouged.

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