Rugby Championship News

World Rugby Boss ‘completely embarrassed’ by Sanzaar’s lack of consistency




World Rugby Vice Chairman Agustin Pichot says that he has been left ‘completely embarrassed’ by Sanzaar’s failure to cite Owen Franks in the All Blacks victory over the Wallabies.

Pichot has called for a complete overhaul of the judicial system after Franks came into contact with Kane Douglas’ eye in the second Bledisloe Cup Rugby Championship match.

All Black prop Franks was not cited or warned for the alleged eye-gouge while trying to clear Douglas out of a maul and Pichot is not impressed that Sanzaar took no action after the incident.

The Sanzaar citing commissioner determined that the Franks incident did not reach a red card threshold so it was left alone.

World Rugby say that they cannot challenge rulings on foul play as Sanzaar tournaments are outside their jurisdiction.

But Pichot is not impressed at all with Sanzaar’s response to the incident.

“The process is wrong,” he said. “It should have some guidelines from the game itself.”

“In world rugby, in Sanzaar and in Six Nations, we need to find consistency because at the end of the day fans want that. 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 explained that on Wednesday last week he was called on the phone by Pumas lock Mariano Galarza who was slapped with a nine week suspension after being found guilty of eye-gouging All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick in the opening match of the Rugby World Cup.

“I am completely embarrassed.”

“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.

“It’s wrong for the players because at the end of the day it’s a question of integrity and player welfare.

“The same with consistency of refereeing. We can get some calls wrong or right we are human beings and we always have to respect the referee, but we have to be consistent worldwide.

“A French referee (Romain Poite officiated the test in Wellington) that comes in to referee a Rugby Championship game cannot be so inconsistent.”

Pichot said changes must be made and suggested that a central base for referees and judicial matters to be guided was being discussed by World Rugby in Dublin and Sanzaar officials.

“We need to change the whole process. We need to centralise the referees and work together on the global management of the game. It needs to have independence but have some common sense and rugby sense in the people that run the judicial process – not only lawyers. ”

“We need to revolutionise everything. We have to at least try because at the end of the day players need consistency.”

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