Super Rugby Pacific: Crusaders prop Owen Franks faces judiciary for retrospective red card against Hurricanes

Already reeling from an unprecedented early-season funk, the champion Crusaders face another setback, as they chase their first win of the Super Rugby Pacific season against archrivals Blues.

With four defeats to start their campaign, a long list of defections from last season and a longer list of notable injuries, the titleholders may now lose the services of prop Owen Franks, who was yellow-carded in the dying seconds of their loss to the Hurricanes.

After the fulltime siren, the veteran front-rower was whistled for clearing out a ruck with a shoulder to the head of winning tryscorer Justin Sangster. Franks was shown yellow and the Hurricanes kicked to touch to end the contest, but the card has subsequently been upgraded to red.

Owen Franks in action against the Hurricanes.
Owen Franks in action against the Hurricanes. Photo credit: Photosport

"Franks is alleged to have contravened Law 9.20b: Dangerous play in a ruck or maul, during the match between Crusaders and Hurricanes at Apollo Projects Stadium in Christchurch on March 15, 2024," said the SANZAAR citation.

The foul play review committee hearing is scheduled for 8pm Monday.

The Crusaders were already playing a man down, after lock Jamie Hannah was dispatched for offside on his own goal-line. From the following passage of play, Sangster plunged over for the go-ahead try in the 14-10 win.

After winning a Super Rugby title in each of the past seven years under now-All Blacks coach Scott Robertson, the southerners are off to the worst start in their history, surpassing the three opening losses in 1996, when they finished last in the inaugural competition.

Their lengthy list of injuries claimed its biggest victim last week, when All Blacks lock and captain Scott Barrett broke a finger, and will be sidelined for six weeks. 

Join Newshub at 7pm Saturday for live updates of the Crusaders v Blues Super Rugby Pacific clash