Wallaby hit with ‘utterly ridiculous’ ban
Wallabies winger Reece Hodge has been found guilty of a dangerous tackle charge and will serve a three-game suspension at the Rugby World Cup.
A four-hour judicial hearing in Tokyo deemed Hodge had met the high tackle sanction threshold when he collided with forward Peceli Sato during Saturday's win over Fiji in Sapporo.
The ban means Hodge will miss all three remaining pool games, against Wales, Uruguay and Georgia and will only become available to play if Australia qualify for the quarter-finals.
However it is expected that Australia may appeal the decision and plenty on social media piled on the call to ban the winger, labelling it 'ridiculous' among other things, while The Australian's deputy sports editor Simon McLoughlin tweeted that players would be "sh***ing themselves" on the back of the decision
Wallabies considering appealing. Argued Hodge turned his head during tackle to avoid a head clash— Tom Decent (@tomdecent) September 25, 2019
On the reverse side of the argument was UK paper The Sun's Duncan Wright, who suggested that it was not Hodge that was hard done by but rather Fiji, he thought Hodge not being sent off cost them a win.
Reece Hodge getting three match ban is fair enough - except for Fiji. That ref decision not to send off a player belong to a top tier country has cost them a bloody good chance of the win, and Aus are the only ones to benefit.— Duncan Wright (@dwright75) September 25, 2019
The disciplinary committee "deemed that the incident was an act of foul play and warranted a red card in line with the high tackle sanction framework", World Rugby said in a statement.
It added that the tackle was "reckless, rather than deliberate", but contact with the head meant a high degree of danger.
Given Hodge's "exemplary disciplinary record, good character and conduct at the hearing, the committee reduced the six-match entry point by three matches".
Fiji's shock 30-27 defeat by Uruguay on Wednesday has now shaped Pool D into a straight contest between Australia and Wales to seal the winner and runner up spots to reach the quarter-finals, for which Hodge would be eligible.
Assistant coach Nathan Grey said earlier Wednesday that the Australian management were "pretty confident the judicial system will look after itself".
"We'll have to deal with that whatever the outcome is," Grey added.
"You'd be crazy as a management not to manage both ways, so whether he's there or not, we'll be ready to go."
Utterly ridiculous. Was a clumsy hit, not cynical. Play it at full speed and tell me Hodge had time to decide, "hey, will take this guy out with a shoulder charge". Now the precedent has been set, let's hope the IRB is consistent (especially with northern hemisphere teams). https://t.co/EuRzVqGHKC— David Scutt (@Scutty) September 25, 2019