Rugby World Cup fans rage as refs misses clear red card incident with Fiji victims of dangerous high tackle against Australia

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THE man who helped draw up rugby’s high tackle rules has blasted the ref for missing a clear red card which cost Fiji the chance of victory against Australia.

Fiji were running rampant in the early stages of their World Cup opener – inspired by the powerful wing play of Peceli Yato.

Reece Hodge hits Fiji dangerman Peceli Yato in the head with his shoulder
Reece Hodge hits Fiji dangerman Peceli Yato in the head with his shoulder
Hodge is sent flying by the force of the contact but Yato came off worst and was ruled out through concussion
Hodge is sent flying by the force of the contact but Yato came off worst and was ruled out through concussion

But Yato was hit with a heavy blow to the head when Australia wing Reece Hodge clearly made a shoulder tackle without any sign of using his arms.

The Fiji star suffered concussion and saw the rest of the match out laying on the sidelines – and is now ruled out of the country’s second game.

But despite the rules aimed at protecting damage to the head strict in outlawing a shoulder tackle to the head, Hodge amazing escaped censure.

New Zealand referee Ben O’Keefe was urged to consult the video referee to see what happened, but despite replays being clear the officials decided no action needed to be taken.

That ruling was criticised by leading South African scientist Ross Tucker, one of the key architects of World Rugby’s new rules.

Tucker took to Twitter to explain why O’Keefe had simply got it wrong.

He wrote: “High tackle sanction framework. Shoulder or High? Shoulder, because the right arm is behind plane of body on contact.

“1. Head contact? Y

“2. Danger? Automatically high for should against head. Entry point equals red.

“3. Mitigation? No.

“Final equals red.”


With Yato off the pitch, Fiji lost their biggest threat and Australia were able to come from behind to win 39-21.

The new protocols were brought in by World Rugby after England star Owen Farrell’s controversial fearsome hit on South African Andre Esterhuizen in November.

Owen Farrell hit Andre Esterhuizen with a shoulder tackle which led to the new rules being implemented
Owen Farrell hit Andre Esterhuizen with a shoulder tackle which led to the new rules being implemented
PA:Press Association



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