Reece Hodge to miss rest of Australia’s World Cup pool matches after being suspended for THREE weeks
Reece Hodge to miss rest of Australia’s Rugby World Cup pool matches after being suspended for THREE weeks for dangerous ‘no-arms’ shoulder tackle on Fiji flanker Peceli Yato
- Reece Hodge’s ‘shoulder-smash’ forced Yato from the field on Saturday
- Referee Ben O’Keefe did not discipline Hodge at the time for the tackle
- The winger was cited a day later and has now been banned by World Rugby
- It is a blow to the Wallabies and Hodge is unavailable until the knockout stages
Australia winger Reece Hodge will miss the rest of Australia’s pool games at the Rugby World Cup after being banned for three weeks for a dangerous tackle.
Hodge’s ‘no-arms’, shoulder-led tackle on Fiji’s Peceli Yato at the end of the first-half in Sapporo on Saturday concussed the flanker, forcing him from the field after he failed a head injury assessment.
Hodge, who has 38 caps for Australia, was cited a day later by World Rugby and will now miss Sunday’s crucial match against Wales, as well as games against Uruguay and Georgia.
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Wing Reece Hodge is sent flying and fklanker Peceli Yato falls to the ground after the collision
Hodge (number 14) clatters into Fiji’s Yato, shoulder-led, without wrapping his arms round
Yato failed a head injury assessment but Hodge was not disciplined at the time for the tackle
MATCHES REECE HODGE WILL MISS
September 29: Australia vs Wales, Tokyo
October 5: Australia vs Uruguay, Olta Prefecture
October 11: Australia vs Georgia, Shizuoka Prefecture
An independent disciplinary committee in Tokyo ruled that Hodge had committed a reckless, rather than deliberate, act of foul play that warranted a red card.
In a statement, World Rugby said: ‘In considering all the available evidence, including multiple broadcast angles and submissions from Hodge and his legal representative, the committee deemed that the incident was an act of foul play and warranted a red card in line with the high tackle sanction framework.’
25-year-old Hodge does have a 48-hour window to appeal the three-week ban, which was not lengthened to six weeks due to ‘Hodge’s exemplary disciplinary record, good character and conduct at the hearing’.
Samoa’s Rey Lee-Lo is sin-binned by French referee Romain Poite for his dangerous tackle
Saturday’s non-awarding of a yellow or red card, as well as another incident involving Japan lock James Moore escaping sanction for a no-arms tackle, resulted in World Rugby releasing an extraordinary statement criticising the performance of referees after just four days of the tournament.
The statement, which noted that ‘the match officials team recognise that performances over the opening weekend were not consistently of standards set by World Rugby and themselves’, was released just a few hours before Samoan pair Rey Lee-Lo and Motu Matu’u were only sin-binned for two more dangerous tackles.
Lee-Lo and Matu’u both connected with the head of Russia captain Vasily Artemyev during Tuesday’s 34-9 win in Kumagaya, but referee Romain Poite felt neither tackle justified a red card offence – both have since been cited.