Australia’s Reece Hodge handed three-match ban for dangerous tackle

first_img Support The Guardian Share on Twitter news Rugby World Cup 2019 The television match official, Rowan Kitt, advised the referee, Ben O’Keeffe, that the collision was within the laws. Kitt did not have access to a camera angle that suggested Hodge should have been sent off under World Rugby’s player welfare policy but the citing commissioner, at Fiji’s prompting, did and ordered the Australian to appear before a three-man disciplinary committee.World Rugby had on Tuesday admitted the standard of officiating in the opening round had fallen below expectation but had been attended to. A few hours later, two Samoa players were not shown red cards for two dangerous challenges, one on the prompting of the TMO, Graham Hughes, who overruled the referee, Romain Poite, saying there was a mitigating circumstance. Rey Lee-Lo and Motu Matu’u both escaped with a yellow card having gone high on the Russia captain, Vasily Artemyev, but were cited on Wednesday and also face missing the rest of the group stage.The failure to sanction Hodge on the field prompted Ross Tucker, a sports scientist who this year helped World Rugby formulate its policy on high and dangerous tackles, to quickly tweet it was a straight red-card offence.The disciplinary panel, which included the former Scotland coach Frank Hadden, looked at all the broadcast angles of the Hodge incident and ruled it was an act of foul play, reckless rather than deliberate, and that as the tackle made contact with Yato’s head there was a high degree of danger. The tournament organisers said in a statement “the act of foul play warranted a red card”. Hodge was given a six-week ban which was halved because of mitigating factors such as his previous disciplinary record and good conduct at the hearing.Australia have 48 hours in which to appeal after receiving the written decision and on Wednesday night reserved their position. Their head coach, Michael Cheika, will have been surprised by the guilty verdict having said before the hearing: “I am not planning for failure. I aim to succeed there. At last week’s meeting with the officials, they talked a lot about empathy as opposed to coming over with a big stick.” The danger of an appeal is that the ban could be increased.Rugby Australia has two referees at the World Cup, Angus Gardner, who was criticised by both France and Argentina after Saturday’s match between the sides, and Nic Berry. It is paying for two coaches to fly to Japan to help Gardner and Berry prepare for matches, saying more needed to be done to assist officials as the pressure mounts. Share on WhatsApp … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Share via Email Share on Pinterest Reece Hodge will miss Australia’s three remaining group matches – starting with Wales in Tokyo on Sunday – after being banned for a dangerous tackle against Fiji which went unpunished at the time and provoked an uproar about lenient officiating.The wing, who scored a try and kicked a penalty as Australia came from 21-12 down to secure a bonus-point victory last weekend, led with his shoulder in a tackle on Peceli Yato, who had been Fiji’s most influential player and missed the rest of the match with concussion. Yato was unavailable for Wednesday’s surprise defeat by Uruguay. Read more Since you’re here…center_img Rugby World Cup Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn The Breakdown: sign up and get our weekly rugby union email. Wallabies can expect aerial assault after Wales show hand at Rugby World Cup Topics Australia rugby union team Australia sport Share on Messenger Rugby union Reuse this contentlast_img

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