Reece Hodge has been hit with a hefty ban.
Reece Hodge has been hit with a hefty ban.

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

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.

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".

Peceli Yato is tackled by Reece Hodge in a separate incident.
Peceli Yato is tackled by Reece Hodge in a separate incident.

 

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."

 

 

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