Reece Hodge wants the infatuation with head high tackles at the Rugby World Cup to cease.
But before that, the banned Wallabies winger feels the need to launch a fierce defence of himself and team management over accusations he is ignorant of the rules.
A riled Hodge has vented his disappointment on social media soon after coach Michael Cheika confirmed the three-game suspension for a high tackle on Fijian Peceli Yato wouldn’t be appealed.
The 25-year-old is “gutted” at the decision made by a judicial committee which sidelines him from the three remaining pool games, including Sunday’s clash with Wales in Tokyo.
In an Instagram post, Hodge has called on media to focus on rugby and the tournament, rather than all of the negative minutiae surrounding how high tackles are cited and sanctioned.
The committee put out a written report that said he had “no effective knowledge” of World Rugby’s decision-making framework around the sanctions for head high tackles.
Hodge was widely criticised on social and mainstream media for his apparent ignorance, something he wanted addressed.
He said the framework was designed for officials, not players.
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Just want to thank everyone for the messages of support over the past few days. I’m extremely disappointed by the decision and gutted I won’t be able to don the gold jersey and represent Australia with the boys on Sunday. Now that the decision has been made, I’ll be doing everything I can to help prepare the boys for the next 3 games. It’s a privilege to be here in Japan and to experience the World Cup buzz with such wonderful hospitality from the Japanese people. Peceli, I hope you’re recovering well from the incident and wish you all the best for the rest of the tournament. There was never any malice in the contact and any suggestions to that effect are simply false. Anyone who knows me will attest to that. Lastly, to the media and fans, please start focusing on all the positive stories at this RWC. The players are giving their all for their country, the fans are packing out the stadiums and the officials are making it all possible. ???
“Those that have played rugby would know that we don’t think about the numbered elements of a decision-making tree for referees and TMOs in the split second before a tackle,” he wrote.
“Numerous articles suggesting I admitted to not knowing the ‘new tackle techniques’ are an utter fabrication.”
Reece said he was coached to tackle low and was aware contact to the head can be detrimental to player safety.
The only disciplinary action against Hodge in his professional career was a yellow card for a deliberate knockdown.
“With that said, it was an obvious accident and I will pay a heavy price,” he said.
In the same post he sent a message to Yato, wishing him a quick recovery after the Fiji forward missed their second pool game with concussion caused by the tackle.
“There was never any malice in the contact and any suggestions to that effect are simply false. Anyone who knows me will attest to that,” Hodge wrote.
Wallabies fans were not happy with the ban dished out to Reece Hodge:
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