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Australia’s media has reacted with fury to the decision to ban Wallabies winger Reece Hodge for three World Cup matches for a dangerous tackle with Sydney’s Daily Telegraph describing it as “farcical”.
Hodge caught Fijian flanker Peceli Yato in the head with a tackle in the 26th minute of the Pool D opener in Sapporo on Saturday, but was cleared of an offence by the matchday officials.
He was cited on Sunday and will now miss Australia‘s crunch clash with Six Nations champions Wales on Sunday as well as the matches against Uruguay on Oct. 5 and Georgia on Oct. 11.
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“In a stunning decision that is sure to draw furious criticism from former players and fans alike who thought the tackle was accidental, the disciplinary committee found Hodge guilty of ‘an act of foul play’,” the Telegraph report said.
In a four-hour disciplinary hearing on Wednesday, the committee decided that Hodge was guilty of red card offence but they halved the usual six-week punishment to three because of his exemplary record and good conduct.
Rugby Australia, several media outlets reported, argued he had been bracing for contact in the collision and turned his head away from Yato in a bid to avoid a head clash.
Wayne Smith, writing in T
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