Fiji coach John McKee has lashed out at Australian counterpart Michael Cheika, suggesting the Wallaby has a different idea of the “spirit of the game” amid a row over Reece Hodge’s alleged high tackle last Saturday.
The two have been at loggerheads over a no-arms high tackle by Wallaby winger Hodge that left Peceli Yato concussed, and which earned him a disciplinary hearing today after a Fijian referral.
“From our side we lost a player who was nearly the most influential player on the park at that time of the game, for the rest of the game, and because of the head injury he can’t play in this game (Wednesday v Uruguay) either,” McKee said.
“Maybe Michael Cheika’s views of what’s within the spirit of the game are slightly different to some other people, but it’s not up to me to decide what exactly he meant by that comment,” fumed McKee, a New Zealander.
Cheika had accused Fiji of going behind his back in referring the tackle after the coaching staff of both teams had enjoyed a “friendly discussion”.
“To get a referral from them in the way it was referred, that was really disappointing,” said Cheika. “I’d prefer they come up to me and get upset with me if they’re really upset about it, not to talk to me in that nice sort of friendly chat and go behind your back and put it in a referral.”
The delay for Reece Hodge’s World Cup judiciary hearing is apparently due to the Wallabies needing to fly an experienced Brisbane barrister to Japan, following an objection from Fiji over their original choice of counsel.
It has also been reported that World Rugby told one of its leading consultants to remove his ‘red card’ tweet in relation to Hodge’s controversial hit.
Ross Tucker, who is a science and research consultant with World Rugby and has been influential in the governing body’s fight against concussion and lowering the tackle height, aired his views on the tackle via Twitter.
“High Tackle Sanction Framework,” wrote Tucker, in a tweet that has since been deleted.
Tucker has since taken his tweet down, with Fox Sports in Australia reporting he did so upon the request of World Rugby. Before doing so, Tucker said that the hit from Hodge was not a shoulder charge rather a high tackle.
The Wallaby winger’s hearing will be heard by an independent judicial committee chaired by Nigel Hampton, QC (New Zealand), former international coach Frank Hadden (Scotland) and former referee José Luis Rolandi (Argentina).
Controversial calls keep coming after World Rugby criticises Japan 2019 referees
Joe Schmidt restores veterans but Sexton, O’Mahony, and Aki miss out
Gaminara ‘really proud’ as Uruguay stun Fiji at Rugby World Cup
In pictures: Uruguay secure historic win of Fiji at Rugby World Cup
Australia’s Reece Hodge handed three-match ban for dangerous tackle