Former All Blacks prop Craig Dowd says Owen Franks should have been sent off for the striking incident that earned the Crusaders front-rower a two-week ban from Super Rugby.
Dowd believes the SANZAR judiciary also missed a prime chance to send a message about the dangers of concussion at the top level, describing his suspension length as a “travesty”.
Writing a column for ESPN, Dowd believes experienced All Blacks tighthead prop Franks would have been sent off if referee Chris Pollock had reviewed the incident through the third match official during Saturday’s match between the Crusaders and Highlanders.
Crusaders prop Franks struck opposite Josh Hohneck with a forearm to the head early in the game at Dunedin.
His suspension will sideline the 67-Test veteran from just one game as the Crusaders have a bye in their schedule next week.
“There is no way the prop should have stayed on the field,” Dowd wrote.
“Whenever you target someone’s head, regardless of whether it is forearm or fist, you have got to go. Getting off with one week’s suspension amazed me.”
Highlanders prop Kane Hames received a five-week ban for a striking in the same game.
Sixty-Test veteran Dowd says the results of detailed studies into the seriousness of concussion have been ignored by the judiciary.
“No message can be taken from his sentence. We are treating the situation too lightly,” he said.
“I think it is a travesty that the judiciary let slide the opportunity to make an example of a frontline All Blacks player after he had targeted someone’s head.”