The Owen Franks camp has hit back at reports he's yet to say sorry to James Parsons for his act of foul play in last weekend's game - insisting the All Blacks prop reached out to the Blues hooker, but that his attempted apology was rebuffed.
According to Aaron Lloyd, the lawyer who represented Franks in his Sanzaar hearing, Parsons didn't want to hear the apology.
"He [Franks] tried to," Lloyd told Radio Sport this afternoon. "What we've got there I think is that the words that have been picked up aren't quite accurate."
The controversy began when Franks struck Parsons to the head in a high tackle during the Crusaders' 32-24 win at Eden Park, for which he wasn't penalised due to the amount of time which had elapsed before it was spotted by the match officials.
And it rumbled on when Parsons told Radio Sport that he hadn't received an apology from Franks, despite the apparent act of contrition giving the Crusader a discount in his sanction from a four-week ban to two weeks.
Now Lloyd, who acts for all New Zealand Super Rugby players, including those from the Blues, has said it was Franks' intention to apologise, even if the message couldn't get through.
"I'm told by Owen that after the game he reached out to James to apologise, and James, by the sounds of it, wasn't in the mood to talk with him and you can sort of understand why," Lloyd said. "So what the judiciary were told was exactly that.
"I understand James has come out and said 'well, he hasn't apologised to me' and I suspect that's right. But I think if everyone pauses a bit and everyone talks about it I think you'll probably find that James will probably accept that he [Franks] might have tried to.
"What do you do in that situation if you're Owen Franks? You want to say sorry to the guy. Owen Franks is Owen Franks, he's not a big social media kind of guy. He's not going to put it all over his website or blog or whatever it is. And in any case it's a personal thing… what more do you do?
"You're not going to force it down his throat. You've already copped him. You've got to respect the fact he doesn't want to talk to you."
Lloyd said it wasn't his job to talk to Parsons or any other victim of alleged foul play in order to ascertain his side of the story. That was a job for Sanzaar.
"I don't do that because I don't want to give anyone the opportunity to say that I'm trying to influence the process.
"I have to quiz my player and say to him 'what happened and what did you do afterwards?'."
Lloyd said the wording of the original Sanzaar press release outlining the sanction might not have been strictly accurate around Franks' apology.
He also said the act of showing contrition was important and necessary.
Lloyd added: "[Franks] realises he stuffed up and made a mistake and communicating with the guy … that is important. We can't lose sight of the fact that we're playing a game that has a collegiality to it. We are rugby people and so things like that are important."
"If people are going to blow that up then let's blow it up so people can see actually it's a misunderstanding or miscommunication - there's nothing nefarious in it."