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Rugby World Cup: Australia’s Reece Hodge cited for tackle on Fiji’s Peceli Yato

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Australia winger Reece Hodge
Australia winger Reece Hodge scored his side’s second try in their win over Fiji

Australia wing Reece Hodge has been cited for his controversial tackle on Peceli Yato in theWallabies’ World Cup Pool D victory over Fiji on Saturday.

Hodge appeared to make contact with the Fijian flanker’s head in a no-arms tackle in the 25th minute in Sapporo.

Yato, who scored the opening try, failed a Head Injury Assessment and did not return to the field.

Hodge is at a tournament hearing on Wednesday before an independent judicial committee in Tokyo.

The governing body’s sanctions for a dangerous tackle start at a two-week ban. The mid-level sanction is six weeks, with a potential ban of 52 weeks as the maximum level of punishment.

If found guilty, Hodge will miss Australia’s match against next Sunday, with the result expected to determine the winner of the pool that also includes .

South African sports scientist Ross Tucker, who helped draw up World ’s framework to help referees decide how to sanction high shots, said it should have been an automatic red card.

And former top international referee Jonathan Kaplan said he had “absolutely no idea” how Hodge avoided being sent off.

“Going into this tournament, World Rugby have been very clear about contact with the head and what constitutes a red card under their new High Tackle Sanction framework,” the South Africanwrote in his Daily Telegraph column.

“I have absolutely no idea why Hodge was not sent off for his tackle on Yato.

“To me it was completely clear and an almost textbook example of the type of challenge they are trying to outlaw.”

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Hodge went on to score the Wallabies’ second try in their comeback win, and Fiji head coach John McKee said losing the impressive Yato so early in a game he was having “such an impact was a big loss for us.”

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