There has been a new twist in the saga surrounding Reece Hodge’s three-week ban as it was revealed the Wallabies winger said he has no knowledge of World Rugby’s decision-making framework regarding high tackles and had not been trained on it.
This excuse from Australian has been met with utter disbelief from the world of rugby and has been roundly dismissed.
Fans on Twitter simply do not know where to start when it comes to picking this excuse apart, saying it is impossible for any rugby player to not know the laws.
This is an area of the game where World Rugby have tried to clamp down and be stricter over the past year, and there is absolutely no way that Hodge was not aware that any contact to the head of a player would spell trouble.
The winger himself has already played in matches this year where players have been punished based on the current framework in place. Scott Barrett’s red card in the first Bledisloe Cup Test earlier this year is an example and Hodge was only metres away when it happened.
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A player does not even need to play to understand the new framework, rather he has to just watch a match on the television to have a rough idea.
But if Hodge’s explanation is actually the case, fans have also said that Michael Cheika, Rugby Australia and the Melbourne Rebels must be blamed for not briefing their players on what is to be expected at this World Cup.
This excuse, though, doesn’t seem to be fooling anyone. This is what has been said:
The most shocking bit of the judgement is Hodge’s statement that he wasn’t aware of the new high tackle framework. ?
— Ian Price (@goatteeboy) September 26, 2019
Hodge played in Perth when Barrett was red carded for shoulder to head contact when he was virtually on one knee. It seems inconceivable that he didn’t notice that at the time or in review. The rules are clear.
— BusVee (@BusV114) September 26, 2019
How does Reece Hodge not know framework for a high tackle in general, not just because they haven't trained on it.
There's a certain level of ignorance coming out of the Australia camp with this comment and Cheika's the other day https://t.co/TqUgNXT36K
— Tom O'Donoghue (@TNODonoghue) September 26, 2019
Is ignorance an excuse? Surely it's up to a player to know the rules and not be constantly spoon fed by his coaches. Or perhaps Hodge is just not one of the sharpest tools in the box…
— Andy.ridge (@Andyridge2) September 26, 2019
How can an experienced test player not even know the rules? That’s major negligence by Hodge or the Aus coaches, if true…
— Jonathon Hughes (@bigjonhughes) September 26, 2019
— ?e (@sonnytoiparker) September 26, 2019
Hodge is basically saying as a Pro Rugby Player, he hasn't done his homework
— Phill Lawrence (@PhillTheBull) September 26, 2019
If true, that is an absolute indictment on the Australian Coaching team/management.
— mike aitken (@aitkenmike) September 26, 2019
Hodge is set to miss the rest of the pool stage for the Wallabies before returning for the quarter-final should his country get there.
His tackle on Peceli Yato has set the benchmark for what is and what is not acceptable at this RWC but, more importantly, if Hodge’s excuse is actually taken at face value, it is an alarming insight into how the players are not briefed and how little they actually know about the laws.
WATCH: Scotland legend Gavin Hastings sits down with RugbyPass in this latest episode of Rugby World Cup Memories
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