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Fans furious with 'ludicrous' ban

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Australian fans furious with 'ludicrous' Reece Hodge ban

World Rugby’s decision to ban Wallabies winger Reece Hodge for three weeks has not gone down well with the Australian public.

The Melbourne Rebels utility back faced a hearing on Wednesday following his tackle on Fiji’s Peceli Yato at the weekend. Hodge’s challenge left the flanker concussed and forced him off for the rest of the game. Yato also sat out Fiji’s shock loss to Uruguay.

The ban was initially for six weeks but was reduced due to Hodge’s character and disciplinary record.

However, a number of former players, journalists and fans from Australia have shown their dismay at the ban, believing it sets a bad standard for the rest of the tournament.

Rugby World Cup winner and former Wallaby midfielder Tim Horan said that tacklers will have to be extremely careful for the remainder of the tournament,  given the punishment that Hodge was struck with. Others have suggested that there have been far worse tackles throughout the tournament, such as in Samoa’s match with Russia (for which two Samoan players have now been cited).

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Whilst there is little doubt that the Samoan players will receive longer bans than Hodge, it is a valid point that there have been tackles so far this RWC that have gone unnoticed and not been cited. Then again, that’s not necessarily a reason to go easy on Hodge, with the majority of the rugby world thinking that his tackle deserved a red card in the match.

However, Australian fans still feel that Yato led with his head in trying to bounce Hodge, and the winger simply did not have time to lower his body to make a safer tackle. But ultimately, there was contact to the head with his shoulder, and it did clearly affect Yato.

As the officials have already faced a lot of criticism so far this RWC for missing dangerous incidents, and as head injuries are a major concern for World Rugby, Hodge was not expected to get away with his poor technique.

This has been the reaction:

Hodge is now set to miss the next three pool games, including this weekend’s clash with Wales which will likely decide who will top Pool D.

Fortunately for Australia, he will be back in time for the quarter-finals.

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Australian fans furious with 'ludicrous' Reece Hodge ban