The first citing of the Rugby World Cup could well be announced on Sunday. Or will it?
This follows the controversy in Fiji’s World Cup opening match against Australia when a high tackle by Australian wing Reece Hodge forced standout Fijian flanker Peceli Yato from the field with concussion.
Australia were trailing 8-11 when the incident happened, but were went on to not only overturn a 12-21 deficit but win by 39-21.
Fiji feels that Hodge should have been sanctioned for making contact with Yato’s head without using his arms in the tackle. Yato left the field and failed his head injury assessment, meaning he was unable to return.
The Fiji captain, Dominiko Waqaniburotu, revealed he asked the referee Ben O’Keeffe to consult the TMO, Rowan Kitt, who determined that no further action was required. Fiji were planning on raising the incident with the citing commissioner, reports The Guardian.
The newspaper points out that under World Rugby’s decision-making framework for high tackles, introduced in May, there is a strong argument that Hodge should have been shown either a yellow or red card, and that Fiji ought to have been awarded a penalty try.
On the eve of the tournament, World Rugby’s head of referees, Alain Rolland, warned that officials would be more rigorous than ever in policing high tackles but in the opening two matches there has been little evidence of that materialising.