Wallabies coach Michael Cheika has slammed World Rugby’s decision to ban Reece Hodge for three games, saying it’s Australia versus everyone else at the World Cup.
Hodge was banned for three weeks by a disciplinary panel for hitting flank Peceli Yato in the head with a dangerous tackle that left the flanker concussed during the Wallabies’ World Cup opener against Fiji last Saturday.
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Hodge escaped sanction during the game, but was later cited and suspended for the tackle. And the suspension of his charge had incensed the Australia coach to such a degree that he has now fired back at World Rugby.
‘If there is one bloke World Rugby’s not listening to it’s me, no matter what language I speak to them in,’ Cheika ranted. ‘I’m not going to be put off course by anyone, not the man chairing the hearing, or what anyone else says, I’m with my players.
‘Whether accidental or not, the framework is there to decide whether it is red, yellow or nothing and I thought the officials in the match did really well.
‘I’ve spoken to the boys about it – there’s a bit of ‘us versus everyone else’ – we know that, and we’re not going to let it derail us, just suck it up and get focused on what’s important.
‘Our players are taught to tackle middle. We don’t need the framework to tell us where to teach our players to tackle because they’re all taught to tackle middle. We’re not teaching anyone to tackle anywhere else except the middle where we can dislodge the ball.’
Cheika then turned to captain Michael Hooper to emphasise his point.
‘Hoops, when you go in to make a tackle, are you thinking about the framework?’ he asked Hooper.
In response, the 27-year-old Hooper said: ‘No.’
‘Well, there you go,’ Cheika sarcastically added.
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