All Blacks prop urges refs to ease off - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

All Blacks prop urges refs to ease off

By Darren Walton 05/08/2010 03:48:04 PM Comments (0)

All Blacks prop Owen Franks has called for Tri Nations referees to show State of Origin-like leniency to ensure rugby Tests don't deteriorate into mismatches.

His suggestion comes after Wallabies winger Drew Mitchell was sent off in the loss to the All Blacks in Melbourne last Saturday only for the IRB referees boss to later admit the first of his two yellow cards was unjustified.

Wallabies coach Robbie Deans on Thursday described the Mitchell dismissal as a "blight on the game" and said he would like SANZAR officials to consider options like the NRL's reporting system for matters not requiring a straight send off.

"There's people in places that will look at it and say: 'Is this really what we want the public to be seeing - a contest of 15 on 14?'" Deans said.

"They may consider that to be too prone to judgement and hence possibly compromise the game when we could deal with some of that stuff later."

Determined to stamp out foul play, referees have already issued six yellow cards, plus Mitchell's red, in the opening four Tri-Nations Tests.

Franks also spent 10 minutes in the sin bin for a shoulder charge last Saturday night and is urging match officials to go a little easier on players for minor infringements in the Test cauldron.

"Getting sent off can have a lot of consequence on your team and have a lot of consequence on yourself too," he said.

"It would be cool to see a Test match played like a, maybe not to the extent, but almost like an Origin where little things like that get let go without that detriment in the game.

"You know, it's a physical contest and both teams want to win so I don't see no problems with that sort of stuff.

"It's good (in Origin), they just let you go at it. Obviously anything out of hand gets dealt with but they seem to let little things go, which would be pretty cool to see in rugby."

Asked if he agreed with Deans's post-match assessment that it didn't feel like a Test match after Mitchell was sent off, Franks said: "It did dull the game down a little bit, yeah."

Deans said having the IRB four days later admit they got it wrong by sending Mitchell off "doesn't help" - but nor does he want referees to soften their stance.

"We just seek consistency," he said. "But obviously being accurate in the first instance is part of that.

"From the Tri Nations to date, that's an area that's had a significant impact on the competition.

"So if it's going to have such a big impact, first and foremost, we need to ensure that it's just."

Deans said there was "merit" in applying the NRL's report now, act later system for on-field offences not deemed serious enough for a straight send-off.

"There's any numbers of possibilities in terms of how you approach that area, but that's not for us to dwell on here. We're here to play," he said.

"The rules are what they are. It's important that we don't get on the wrong side of those and leave ourselves vulnerable and compromised to risk."

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