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Reece Hodge (above) was hit with three-match ban for high tackle on Fijian flanker Peceli Yato

Reece Hodge makes incredible excuse after being hit with three-match ban for high tackle on Fiji’s Peceli Yato as he claims he hadn’t received training on World Rugby’s new guidelines

  • Reece Hodge’s ‘shoulder-smash’ forced Peceli 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
  • He claims he did not know the decision making framework in his hearing 
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Reece Hodge – the Australian who was banned for three matches for his high-tackle on Fijian flanker Peceli Yato — made an incredible admission in his disciplinary hearing.

The notes of that hearing were published on Thursday and included this comment: ‘The player conceded that he had no effective knowledge of World Rugby’s ‘Decision making framework for high tackles’; had not been trained on it; was not across it because the tackles he makes are predominantly in the waist to knees area.’ 

Yato was concussed by the dangerous hit and a day after the match had ‘a headache, pressure in head, dizziness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light/noise, fatigue/low energy, and difficulty concentrating.’ 

Reece Hodge (above) was hit with three-match ban for high tackle on Fijian flanker Peceli Yato

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Reece Hodge (above) was hit with three-match ban for high tackle on Fijian flanker Peceli Yato

Hodge (right) is sent flying and flanker Yato falls to the ground after the collision

Hodge (right) is sent flying and flanker Yato falls to the ground after the collision

Hodge (right) is sent flying and flanker Yato falls to the ground after the collision

MATCHES REECE HODGE WILL MISS  

  1. September 29: Australia vs Wales, Tokyo
  2. October 5: Australia vs Uruguay, Oita Prefecture
  3. October 11: Australia vs Georgia, Shizuoka Prefecture 

Sportsmail understands that the Wallabies are cross with the way Hodge’s testimony was reflected in lengthy 11-page verdict World Rugby put out to explain their decision making process.

It is believed that Hodge — like all players — has been coached by Australia not to tackle high, but sources have indicated he should not be expected to know the minutiae of the directives – which essentially are laid out for referees and TMOs to help them make on-field decisions, and not players.

All teams competing at the World Cup were visited by referees chief Alain Rolland before the tournament and reminded of the crack-down on high tackles.

Australia face Wales on Sunday and are still yet to decide whether they will appeal World Rugby’s verdict – they had 48 hours from the initial verdict.

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At present Hodge will miss all of the Wallabies’ pool matches at the World Cup, having taken a three-week ban.

Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde said his team were fully aware of the high-tackle laws.

‘Players know they will have to do the utmost to keep their focus and concentration to not make silly errors,’ he said. 

Hodge (No 14) clatters into Fiji's Yato, shoulder-led, without wrapping his arms round him

Hodge (No 14) clatters into Fiji's Yato, shoulder-led, without wrapping his arms round him

Hodge (No 14) clatters into Fiji’s Yato, shoulder-led, without wrapping his arms round him

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