Hodge felt the brunt of the Fijian runners on a number of occasions and was regularly rag-dolled by the athletic Fijians throughout the Pool D match.
The Wallabies winger managed to unintentionally get one of his own back late in the first half, concussing Yato with a tackle that many have deemed dangerous and worthy of a red card. Fiji subsequently referred the tackle to World Rugby, and Hodge faces a hearing on Wednesday which could potentially end his Rugby World Cup.
But Cheika has said that what Fiji did was not in the spirit of the game. Fiji coach John McKee did not approach Cheika about the tackle after the game, instead going straight to the Citing Officer – which Cheika likened to going behind his back.
The Wallabies coach has since been lampooned by former players, journalists and fans on Twitter for his attitude. Cheika has been accused of hypocrisy, seeing as his criticism of Fiji could equally be deemed against the spirit of the game, while others have questioned why Fiji would need to approach him about the tackle anyway.
McKee and his coaching team are perfectly within their rights to refer this tackle for citation, and unless Cheika feels it was an illegal tackle himself, he should have nothing to worry about. If he does think it was dangerous, then Fiji did the right thing to ensure acts like this do not go unpunished.
This is what has been said:
— Ben Ryan (@benjaminryan) September 23, 2019
Sorry Cheika- have to disagree. The citing process isn’t about protecting yours or a referees egos- it’s about doing what’s fair for Fiji, the concussed player, and ultimately it’s about making the game safer. https://t.co/oGeLQmrUdf
— PacificRugbyWelfare (@pacificwelfare) September 23, 2019
Setting aside Cheika’s monstrous hypocrisy when you consider his history of abusing officials, what rankles here is the “How dare Fiji think they can refer one of us, don’t they know who we are?”
That attitude can get in the bin, to be entirely blunt.
— Tim O'Connor (@timoconnorbl) September 23, 2019
Cheika saying Fiji isn't being fair by referring the high tackle, then goes on to call coach John McKee and the Fijian players two faced in the same interview. Yo this ? is butt hurt that Australia might be held accountable for a dirty play
— names were gettin out of hand (@stellarkeenan) September 23, 2019
Screw you Cheika..they most likely reviewed the footage after the game and is probably why they than lodge their referral. Who a u to tell them what to do. The player got concussed and didn’t pass the test because of that tackle.
— max (@max_male) September 23, 2019
That tackle from hodge was horrible
Fiji dont have to tell you that they are gonna report your player for an illegal tackle
Just accept what's happening and be gracious about it man
— Mr Mellow (@Noncombination) September 23, 2019
— Simon Lailey (@simon_lailey) September 23, 2019
So he’s moaning about the referral not being in the spirit of the game? But this statement is in the spirit of the game? Poor from Cheika
— Ramsay (@Ram5y) September 23, 2019
— Marika Tuinabunawa (@m_tuinabunawa) September 23, 2019
After scoring the opening try of the game, Yato was forced off the field following the tackle by Hodge, and Fiji never looked the same after impressing in the first half.
While a ban for Hodge may be justice for what many feel was a red card, it won’t help Fiji’s cause, as they ultimately lost the game and have now lost one of their best players for the contest against Uruguay as well this week. They are obviously entitled to feel aggrieved at the outcome of the tackle and will now be more than a little confused after Cheika’s accusations.
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