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'Move on, he's apologised': Ex-All Blacks weigh in on Ardie Savea's gesture

By Kim Ekin
Ardie Savea of the Hurricanes celebrates in front of fans after his team's victory during the round two Super Rugby Pacific match between Melbourne Rebels and Hurricanes at AAMI Park, on March 03, 2023, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Kelly Defina/Getty Images)

Two former All Blacks have urged everyone to move on after Hurricanes No 8 Ardie Savea’s throat-slit gesture that became a heavily talked about incident in Friday night’s Rebels versus Hurricanes clash.


The Hurricanes captain was yellow carded after getting involved in scuffle near the goal line but after exchanging words with Rebels halfback Ryan Louwrens he made a throat-slit gesture which has offended some watching.

Savea apologised in his after-match interviews and sought out Louwrens after the full-time whistle to bury the hatchet but was cited for the incident and is set to face a hearing.

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Sir John Kirwan weighed in on the matter during Sky Sport NZ’s The Breakdown and urged the SANZAAR judicial committee to throw the case out.

“No, total mistake from Ardie but he fronted up straight away and apologised,” Kirwan told The Breakdown panel.

“It should not go to judicial, I believe. We want to send a strong message to kids, but that was it [his apology], ‘I’m sorry, I made a mistake, I wasn’t good enough and I need to get better’, that’s what you want from your leaders.

“We need to be a bit careful too as sometimes we make those gestures during the haka. Like he said it is a warrior [moment].


“Did he make a mistake? Yes. Do we want to see it in our game? No. But he apologised and did that really well.

Former All Black No 8 Steven Bates shared similar views to Kirwan but was happy to see the players show some fire and passion for the contest.

Super Rugby fixtures don’t often see emotions spill over but the incidents added some spice to a game which was expected to be lopsided.

The Hurricanes had walloped the Reds 47-13 the previous week while the Rebels had lost to the Force in their first outing.


At the time the Hurricanes were up 24-7 but the incident ignited the home crowd and the Rebels were able to pick themselves up of the canvas and turn the game into a contest.

The managed to cut the led to just one point at 34-33 before a late try to Jordie Barrett sealed the win for the Hurricanes.

“I don’t condone what he did but it’s the heat of the moment, like he said it’s a warrior game,” Bates said.

“Sometimes the things get to you. But I’ll tell you what, it was awesome to watch.

“I’m not saying we need to go back to the old days but a bit of push and shove, a bit of passion, that’s what you want to see.

“From my point of view he made a mistake, probably shouldn’t have done it but move on, he’s apologised.

“It’s a heat of the battle thing and he got it wrong. Move on, don’t worry about it.”


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1 Comment
isaac 505 days ago

While I also want us to move on..what if the same gesture was done by a Drua or Moana player to Barrett or e other high profile all black?? Would the ex Abs still ask to move on??? Or would they open up the law book for max penalty....the ref should have reprimanded savea there and then and ask him to apologize and than we all could move on...sometimes all we need is a little bit of commonsense

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