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Australia make decision on Hodge

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Rugby Australia make decision on Reece Hodge

By PA Authors
By Online Editors

Michael Cheika has confirmed that Australia will not appeal against wing Reece Hodge’s three-match ban for a dangerous tackle.

Hodge will miss Sunday’s World Cup Pool D clash against Wales in Tokyo, as well as additional group-stage appointments with Uruguay and Georgia, after his citing and suspension for the tackle against Fiji.

In the independent disciplinary committee’s written judgement on the matter, it was revealed that Hodge said in his evidence that he was not aware of World Rugby’s decision-making framework for high tackles and that he had not received any related coaching.

“We deliberated, yes, with our QC and several other legal minds around Australia, and we’ve come to the conclusion that we won’t be appealing,” Cheika told reporters at his pre-match press conference on Saturday.

“If they can’t see that tackle doesn’t meet the red card threshold on first view, I worry a little bit about going back there and getting more.

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“After speaking with Reece, we decided not to do it.”

Wales ended Australia’s long run of success in the fixture by beating them last November. That win was part of a record 14-Test unbeaten sequence which also helped Wales briefly become world rugby’s number one-ranked team.

Cheika added: “I think every match in the World Cup is a grand final. Whether you can try to isolate one more than the other, I personally don’t believe so.

“All that history stuff between one team and another doesn’t count because you get out there and it is zero-zero.

“I’ve been privileged to be a part of a few of these (Wales versus Australia games) now. It was my first ever Test match in charge of Australia.

“We like to run with the ball. They like a lot of counter-attack footy sometimes, and they are great defenders as well.

“We’ve got very contrasting styles. One thing you see in these games is full commitment from all players on both sides, and that is what usually makes them pretty tight.

“They are very well drilled, and he (Wales head coach Warren Gatland) has obviously got the ability to create a lot of cohesion inside his teams.

“I don’t know him very well personally, I’ve only had a couple of conversations with him over the time, but to be in one nation’s team without someone trying to cut your head off – how long has he been there? 10 years, more? – it’s been an unbelievably good run.

“He’s been excellent at what he’s done.

“He has got a great list of achievements, and that experience helps a coach when it comes to these big tournaments, without a doubt, so he is very well qualified to be where he is.”

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Rugby Australia make decision on Reece Hodge