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'There is nothing wrong with this' - Ireland star leaps to Savea's defence

By Ian Cameron
Ardie Savea, captain of The Hurricanes rugby union team, reacts during a press conference at the NZCIS training grounds at Upper Hutt in Wellington on February 1, 2023. - Savea said Wednesday that he believes Campbell Johnstone's "courageous" coming out as the first gay All Black could pave the way for other rugby stars. (Photo by Marty MELVILLE / AFP) (Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)

Former Ireland scrumhalf John Cooney has leap to the defence of Ardie Savea after the All Blacks No.8 was criticised for making a throat-slitting gesture during the Hurricanes’ Super Rugby victory over the Melbourne Rebels.

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Savea was shown a yellow card following a large brawl just before half-time and after an exchange of words with scrum-half Ryan Louwrens, he drew his right hand across his throat before marching off.

Cooney defended the All Blacks star, suggesting it was more of a storm in a tea-cup than a significant offence on the part of Savea. The Ulster halfback wrote on Twitter: “Sorry but there is nothing wrong with this. He’s not watching on tv. He’s physically competing with 100kg + people. He’s competing in a contact sport. If he did it to me it would not bother me (bar me s***ting myself 😂). I’m sure it happens all the time across club level!

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Cooney wasn’t the only one coming to Savea’s offence. The Telegraph’s Charlie Richardson pointed out that the throat-slitting gesture was an oft-included part of New Zealand’s haka, which Savea had performed countless time.

“What Ardie Savea did this morning was APPALLING, wasn’t it? Oh wait,” wrote Richardson, accompanied by a picture of Ali Williams performing the ritual challenge. “The pearl-clutching has been, even for rugby, quite staggering. Throat-slitting gestures are fine in the Haka but not during play?”

In any event, Savea has since apologised for his actions saying he’s ‘got to be better’

“I can understand the fans are furious around the gesture that I made,” the All Blacks number eight told Stan Sport.

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“It’s just a heat of the moment kind of thing. It’s footy. Kids are watching us, we’re in the heat of the moment. Usually that’s out of character for me, so I put my hand up first and I apologise for that.

“For me, to get a yellow card for a push and shove… athat’s just where rugby’s going.

“I’ve got to be better. We’re trying to clean up the game. I understand, there are no excuses for me, I’ve got to be better.”

Savea, who has won 70 caps for New Zealand, is now likely to face disciplinary action.

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additional reporting PA

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1 Comment
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isaac 476 days ago

Hes realised...apologised....lets move on

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