Australia coach slams Fiji over Hodge citing at Rugby World Cup

Michael Cheika, head coach of the Wallabies addresses the media during the Australian Wallabies and Wallaroos media opportunity at Kings Park on August 08, 2019 in Perth, Australia.
Michael Cheika, head coach of the Wallabies addresses the media during the Australian Wallabies and Wallaroos media opportunity at Kings Park on August 08, 2019 in Perth, Australia.
Image: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Australia coach Michael Cheika accused Fiji of going behind his back on Monday after they referred Wallaby wing Reece Hodge for disciplinary action over a heavy tackle which left Peceli Yato concussed.

Cheika said he found it "disappointing" that Fiji referred the incident to the citing commissioner after coach John McKee and his staff had spent time with their Australian opposite numbers after Saturday's game.

Fiji were leading 11-7 when Hodge's hit prevented Yato from scoring a try and ended his involvement. The Wallabies wing went on to score a try and kick a penalty as Australia won 39-21.

"Probably the most disappointing thing was Fiji," Cheika said.

"After the game, we had a lot of friendly discussion with McKee and the coaches. He talked to our other coaches, there wasn't a mention of anything. And then to get a referral from them in the way it was referred, that was really disappointing.

"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 beyond your back and put it in a referral."

After the citing commissioner decided to take action, Hodge will go before an independent disciplinary committee which could impose a ban.

"I was surprised it was cited. I personally didn't even notice," said Cheika. "I didn't even see it in the game."

- AFP

 

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