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Hodge's disciplinary hearing excuse doesn't wash with fans

By Josh Raisey
Reece Hodge has left himself open to ridicule (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

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.

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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.

(Continue reading below…)

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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.

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This excuse, though, doesn’t seem to be fooling anyone. This is what has been said:

https://twitter.com/TNODonoghue/status/1177155244503044096?s=20

https://twitter.com/PhillTheBull/status/1177172443347243010?s=20

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.

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Jon 1 hours ago
Sam Cane was unfairly cast in Richie McCaw's shadow for too long

> McCaw’s durability and sustained excellence were unique, but we seemed to believe his successors were cut from the same cloth. It’s easy to forget McCaw was just as heavily critiqued for the last two years of his career. The only real difference was his captaining criticisms and his playing criticisms happened at different times, where Cane was criticized for a few things in both areas for all of his last 4 years. This was also heavily influenced by another McCaw esque presence, in Ardie Savea, being in the team and pushed out of his original position. It could be said we essentially didn’t have the 3 prior years with Ardie as world player of the year because he was changing into this new role. I say “original” position as despite him never coming out and saying his desire is to perform his role from, that I know of, clearly as part of a partnership with Cane as 7, I don’t think this was because he really wanted Cane’s playing spot. I think it most likely that it comes down to poor All Black management that those sort of debates weren’t put to bed as being needless and irrelevant. It has been brought up many times in past few months of discussions on articles here at RP, that early calls in WC cycles, to say pigeonhole an All Black team into being required to have a physical dynamo on defence at 7 (and ballplyaer at 8 etc) are detrimental. In the end we did not even come up against a team that threw large bodies at us relentlessly, like why we encountered in the 2019 WC semi final, at all in this last WC. Even then they couldn’t see the real weakness was defending against dynamic attacks (which we didn’t want to/couldn’t give 2019 England credit for) like the Twickenham Boks, and Irish and French sides (even 10 minutes of an English onslaught) that plagued our record and aura the last 4 years. It really is a folly that is the All Blacks own creation, and I think it pure luck, and that Cane was also such a quality All Black, that he was also became an integral part of stopping the side from getting run off the park. Not just rampaged. > The hushed tones, the nods of approval, the continued promotion of this nonsense that these men are somehow supernatural beings. I bet this author was one of those criticizing Cane for coming out and speaking his mind in defence of his team that year. Despite the apparent hypocrisy I agree with the sentiment, but I can only see our last captain as going down the same road his two prior captains, Read and McCaw, have gone. I am really for Cane becoming an extra member to each squad this year, June, RC, and November tours, and he is really someone I can see being able to come back into the role after 3 seasons in Japan. As we saw last year, we would have killed for someone of his quality to have been available rather than calling on someone like Blackadder. Just like the Boks did for 2023.

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