Rugby World Cup 2019: Wallabies utility Reece Hodge suspended for dangerous tackle

Wallabies utility Reece Hodge will miss Australia's three remaining group matches at the Rugby World Cup after being found guilty of a dangerous tackle at a judicial hearing in Tokyo.

Hodge was cited for a shoulder-led hit on Fijian flanker Peceli Yato that saved a try in the first half of their match last Saturday in Sapporo.

Hodge was handed the suspension by a three-man independent judiciary, who deemed his high tackle on Yato met the red card threshold.

The 25-year-old won't be available for the Wallabies' remaining Pool D games against Wales, Uruguay, and Georgia. He' will become available if the Wallabies qualify for the quarter-finals.

The result will be greeted grimly by a Wallabies team who expected they could successfully challenge the red card grading for the offence.

Management are yet to decide if they will appeal the ban within the 48-hour window allowed.

Yato was concussed and forced out of the game by the 26th-minute tackle.

Footage of the incident suggested Hodge had made contact with Yato's head and he hadn't wrapped his arms around the hulking flanker.

In a statement, the committee said contact with Yato's head meant there was a high degree of danger involved and that a six-week ban was warranted.

That sanction was halved because of Hodge's exemplary disciplinary record and his conduct at the hearing.

World Rugby recently updated their disciplinary laws to read: "Any act of foul play which results in contact with the head and/or neck shall result in at least a mid-range sanction [six weeks]."

Hodge's lawyers argued that Hodge was bracing for a collision and that his initial contact was with Yato's arm. 

They said the winger had moved his head late in a bid to avoid contact with Yato's head.

Coach Michael Cheika was irate this week after the tackle in question had been cleared by matchday officials, even after being reviewed by the television match official.

He said he was led to believe a citing officer would only come over the top of matchday officials if an offence was deemed "clear and obvious", which he said the Hodge tackle wasn't.

The outcome should mean a starting promotion for winger Dane Haylett-Petty off the bench for Sunday's clash with the Welsh.

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