The one thing which has characterised all of Tana Umaga's post-match media appearances this year is his composure and unwillingness to criticise anyone – players or match officials – despite presumably being sorely tempted at times.

But that changed at Eden Park after the Blues' latest defeat – a 32-24 loss to the Crusaders which stretched his team's lack of success against Kiwi opposition to 17 games in a row.

And in the wake of the match officials' treatment of Owen Franks, in particular, it's not difficult to see why Umaga's comments in front of the cameras and microphones had an extra edge.

Umaga was clearly angry, and not necessarily because of his team's performance or defeat, but because the new, tougher, sanctions for foul brought in by World Rugby were supposed to create a safer environment for players and they didn't seem apply to Franks.


The prop's high shot to the head of James Parsons, which forced the Blues player from the field in the first half, was reviewed by referee Glen Jackson, who gave Franks a warning but nothing else because he was apparently unable to sanction him further.

The problem seems to be that too much time – or too many phases – had passed from the time of the incident near the Crusaders line to when it was spotted by the television match official. If that is the case the law needs changing.

Jackson could be heard via his microphone telling Franks that he was lucky, and Umaga, like the rest of us, was confused by the decision and the response.

"I'm sure there are protocols around contact with the head – I think that's the simple thing," Umaga said. "First and foremost it's the safety of our players – that's what we're looking for; we had two guys come off. I'm sure there will be questions asked – there should be. We'll see what happens there."

Five years ago, when he was coaching Counties-Manukau, Umaga was censured for verbally abusing ref Jackson after a game against Auckland at Eden Park. The pair have history, and Umaga chose his words carefully, but it's difficult not to sympathise with him and his team on this one.

Asked why he thought Jackson took no action on Franks, Umaga said: "No idea. I don't know how they came up with their conclusion. There's no doubt we'll challenge it. We'll ask the reasons why and who is accountable for it."

The ridiculous thing is that Franks was cited immediately after the match and faces a judicial hearing tonight. A ban is possible but that won't assist the Blues, who would have been given an immediate advantage had Franks been carded.

The Crusaders, who lost Quentin Strange to a yellow card early in the second half for a dangerous lifting tackle on Jerome Kaino, have conceded five yellows in four matches and were extremely lucky not to lose prop Joe Moody to a red card in their narrow win over the Waratahs last week.

Moody was later cited and suspended for two games for his elbow to Kurtley Beale, a sanction which appears to render farcical Jackson's inability to take any action – not even award a penalty – against the foul play by Franks.

Umaga was also angry about an incident involving Blues fullback Matt Duffie and Crusaders replacement wing Manasa Mataele when the pair collided taking a high ball in the first half. Duffie had the ascendancy in the air, and injured himself as he landed, but Jackson ruled Mataele's challenge as fair.

"The same thing; again there protocols are in place for who has advantage. Duff is asking us now, 'well, should I go up for high balls if I'm going to come down like that all the time?'."