‘An utter fabrication’: Reece Hodge hits back at critics and defends his intelligence as he is accused of ‘not knowing new techniques’ after three-match ban for dangerous tackle
- Reece Hodge received a three-match ban for a dangerous tackle last week
- The winger had been accused of not knowing new tackling techniques
- However, he has hit back at these claims, saying they are ‘an utter fabrication’
Reece Hodge the Australian winger banned for three matches for his dangerous tackle against Fiji last week – has hit back at his critics and defended his intelligence.
The World Rugby disciplinary report that detailed the reasons why he was suspended for his hit on Peceli Yato said: ‘The Player conceded that he had no effective knowledge of WR’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.’ That suggestion angered Australia and now Hodge has had his say.
‘In regards to the posts and comments slamming Rugby Australia, the coaching staff and even my own so-called ignorance for not having studied the “high tackle decision making framework”, let me posit this,’ he wrote.
Reece Hodge (above) was hit with a three-match ban for his wild tackle against Fiji
Hodge (No 14) clatters into Peceli Yato, shoulder-led, without wrapping his arms round him
‘As rugby players, we are aware that contact to the head in a tackle is detrimental to the safety of our opposition and will be met with some form of sanction.
‘Subsequently, we are coached to tackle below shoulder height. We never intend to make contact with the head or neck and I never want to hurt anyone.
‘We have a lot of micro decisions to make in a Rugby game, from positioning in defence to running lines in attack and these are often made instantaneously.
‘From my point of view, the high tackle decision-making framework was designed for administrators, and actually has little to no bearing on my decision-making on the field when approaching contact.
The Australian winger was accused of not knowing the new tackling techniques afterwards
‘We do lots of “homework” as rugby players and are constantly adapting to changes in the game.
‘Numerous articles suggesting I admitted to not knowing the “new tackle techniques” are an utter fabrication.
‘During the judiciary hearing, I was asked of my knowledge of the framework specifically, not of any “new tackling techniques” or whether I knew tackling high was going to be penalised.
‘With that said, it was an obvious accident and I will pay a heavy price. The only sort of disciplinary action I’ve ever had was a yellow card for a “deliberate knockdown” so it feels really weird to be on the sidelines but I will be doing all I can to help the team prepare for Wales and for the rest of the pool stage.’ His coach Michael Cheika said Australia will now not appeal – as they do not trust World Rugby’s process.
Australia won’t appeal the decision, but Hodge has hit back at critics of his game knowledge
‘We deliberated with our QC and several other legal minds around Australia and we’ve come to the conclusion that we won’t be appealing,’ he said.
‘If they can’t see that tackle doesn’t meet the red card threshold on first view, I worry a little bit about going back there and getting more.
‘Just a bit of a show of force, I suppose. After speaking with Reece, we decided not to do it.’