Two-week ban for Franks leaves All Black free to play France


Wellington (AFP)

All Blacks prop Owen Franks received a two-week ban Sunday for striking an opponent, leaving him free to play against France next month, but his lack of discipline left New Zealand coach Steve Hansen fuming.

Franks was suspended after pleading guilty to a swinging arm hit on Auckland Blues hooker James Parsons during Saturday's Super Rugby match between the Blues and the Canterbury Crusaders.

He is the second Crusaders and All Blacks prop to be suspended in as many weeks after Joe Moody received a two-week ban for an elbow to the throat of Kurtley Beale when the Crusaders played the NSW Waratahs the previous Saturday.

Franks and Moody are both in the All Blacks squad to face France in a three-Test series next month with coach Hansen citing a need to eliminate needless penalties.

"I've got concerns about our whole discipline," he said.

"Last year we gave away too many avoidable penalties. We've talked about that on our foundation days.

"Both guys we're talking about have been out (injured) for a wee while, and were probably a little rusty in their techniques. They just need to have a look at themselves and give themselves a wee uppercut and get on with it."

A Super Rugby judicial panel said Franks' hit on Parsons merited a mid-range four-week ban but it was reduced to two weeks given "the player's good record over an extensive playing history".

Franks, who has played 95 Tests, has been suspended up to and including June 2 and will miss the Crusaders matches against the Wellington Hurricanes and Waikato Chiefs but will be available for the first Test against France on June 9.