World Rugby acts against 'cheap shot' merchants
DISCIPLINARY UPDATE: Australian wing Reece Hodge was cited on Sunday after a controversial tackle that left Fiji’s Peceli Yato concussed in their opening game at the World Cup.
Hodge will appear before an independent judicial committee and looks likely to be slapped with a ban after his high, no-arms hit on Yato which stopped a certain try.
Fiji, who were leading 11-7 at the time, eventually lost the game 21-39 and Yato took no further part. The date of the hearing is yet to be announced.
Experts had questioned why no action was taken after the incident, which took place in the 25th minute at Sapporo Dome.
South African sports scientist Ross Tucker, who helped draw up World Rugby’s framework to help referees decide how to sanction high shots, said it should have been an automatic red card.
And former top referee Jonathan Kaplan said he had “absolutely no idea” how Hodge avoided a red card.
“Going into this tournament World Rugby have been very clear about contact with the head and what constitutes a red card under their new High Tackle Sanction framework,” Kaplan wrote in his column for Britain’s Daily Telegraph.
“With that in mind, I have absolutely no idea why Reece Hodge was not sent off for his tackle on Fiji’s Peceli Yato.
“To me, it was completely clear and an almost textbook example of the type of challenge they are trying to outlaw.”
The tackle was reportedly referred to Montgomery by the Fijians.
World Rugby referee boss Alain Rolland said on the eve of the global showpiece that officials would take a zero-tolerance approach to high tackles.
A three-man panel chaired by New Zealander Nigel Hampton will form the first judiciary of the tournament and their decision will be closely scrutinised.
* Meanwhile Argentinean wing Matías Moroni has been issued with a Citing Commissioner Warning (CCW) by Murray Whyte (Ireland) for an act of foul play – contrary to Law 9.27: (hair-pulling) at the end of Argentina’s match against France on Saturday.
The CCW will remain on the player’s record to be dealt with in the event that the player accumulates three yellow cards and/or Citing Commissioner Warnings during the tournament.
In Friday’s opening match between hosts Japan and underdogs Russia, Brave Blossoms lock James Moore looked to have made contact with Russian scrumhalf Vasily Dorofeev’s head with his upper arm.
The incident went unnoticed by the referees.