Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
World World



'Daring, gallus and honest, Stuart Hogg has defined a Scottish era'

Stuart Hogg retires young, but retires a giant of Scottish sport.

RugbyPass+ Home

How the world reacted to Ardie Savea's 'nasty' gesture

By Ned Lester
Ardie Savea in the gym with the All Blacks. Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images

The internet has run wild with differing takes on the severity of Ardie Savea’s throat-slitting gesture, made towards Rebels halfback Ryan Louwrens following a scuffle that saw Savea yellow-carded.


While a number of players have come to the All Black No 8’s defence, some fans believe Savea should face a lengthy ban due to his actions violating World Rugby’s “spirit of good sportsmanship” law.

Savea, as the Hurricanes captain, appeared for the post-match interview and delivered an apology for his actions, admitting he’s “got to be better” while describing the gesture as a “heat of the moment kind of thing”.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

Some Twitter-goers urged people to keep the gesture of a threat in perspective.

“I can’t believe the people wanting more than this, like the gesture was a literal threat. These same people must think Shooter McGavin is literally threatening his golf ball with shooting it.”

One Twitter user called Savea out for hurting the progress of the game and undermining the intent of Super Round, which is to expand the reach of the game positively.

“Super Round. So many people doing their utmost to promote the code. Ardie Savea letting all of them down.”

Ian MacGilp offered the perspective of the middle ground:

“I think there’s an area between ‘totally fine’ and ‘deserves punishment’, that I call the ‘Bit of a Prick Zone’. It’s fairly broad, and encapsulates both Savea’s throat slit and Liam Williams’ ‘sit down’ try celebration.”


Former Wallaby Matt Toomua was sympathetic for Savea and proposed making the incident an example of how to own your actions, given Savea’s “heartfelt apology”.

“Ardie Savea gave a heartfelt apology after the match. He has been a great role model to kids for a long time and I think he deserves our understanding. Maybe we use this to show the importance of owning up to mistakes sincerely apologising.”

Stephen Antill had a look into these World Rugby lawbook and found one law Savea could be in trouble for:

“Only thing he could be cited under is ‘9.27 A Player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship including but not limited to’

“One of the options is ‘Other'”


Shortly after Savea’s exit, fans were anticipating what further confrontations the game might provide once the physical loose forward returned to the pitch.

Nathan Griffiths listed “Things I would rather be than a Rebels player when Ardie Savea comes back on:

“1. A landmine disarmer
“2. A bloke going in for several root canals
“3. A criminal in Gotham with an active bat signal in the sky”

A popular take was to accept the apology as a genuine expression of remorse but one that would only go so far in mitigating a ban period.

“His apology and prior conduct should be given due consideration at the judiciary hearing. This will result in time on the sidelines.”

The bottom line for many was that the gesture “has no place on the field.”

“The gesture literally means “I’m going to kill you” whether he means it or not is irrelevant. It has no place on the field.”


Join free and tell us what you really think!

Join Free
TRENDING 'I'm still pretty angry about it': Injured All Black Tupaea resentful over Swain cleanout Injured All Black Tupaea hasn't forgiven Swain