Tomas Francis: Exeter boss Rob Baxter unhappy at length of Wales prop's ban

By Brent PilnickBBC Sport

Exeter boss Rob Baxter says Tomas Francis should not have been given the ban he received for making contact with Dan Cole's eyes in the Six Nations.

The Wales and Exeter prop has been suspended for eight weeks, but Baxter says he did not mean to make contact with the England front-rower's face.

"I'm very confident there is no intent there," Baxter told BBC Sport.

"Should you get lengthy bans for incidents with absolutely no intent? It's hard to say you should, isn't it?"

The suspension means Francis will miss the rest of the regular Premiership season as second-placed Exeter try to make the play-offs for the first time in their history.

"I feel a bit sorry for him," said Baxter.

"I feel a bit annoyed for us as a club because these charges of reckless behaviour are all well and good, but the reality is if someone is entering a ruck and trying to hit with the shoulder, they've got to make contact with something, with their hands and with their arms.

He added: "If it's someone's face with no intent, then it's a ban. If it's someone's leg or shoulder or arm with exactly the same intent, it's nothing.

"As much as we've got to be mindful of player welfare, which is hugely important, I do think when we talk about some of these things that we need to be careful that two people can commit exactly the same action and one means nothing and is just clearing out a ruck, and another is an eight-week ban, and the intent to do things is exactly the same."