Australia wing Hodge cited for dangerous tackle at RWC

Australia's Reece Hodge, right, is congratulated by teammates after scoring a try during the Rugby World Cup Pool D game at Sapporo Dome between Australia and Fiji in Sapporo, northern Japan, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (Naoya Osato/Kyodo News via AP)
Fiji’s Peceli Yato is tackled by Australia’s Reece Hodge (14) during the Rugby World Cup Pool D game at Sapporo Dome between Australia and Fiji in Sapporo, northern Japan, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (Masanori Takei/Kyodo News via AP)
Australia's Reece Hodge is congratulated by teammates after scoring a try during the Rugby World Cup Pool D game at Sapporo Dome between Australia and Fiji in Sapporo, Japan, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Australia's Reece Hodge, left, flies as he is pushed away by Fiji's Peceli Yato during the Rugby World Cup Pool D game at Sapporo Dome between Australia and Fiji in Sapporo, Japan, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Fiji's Peceli Yato, left, receives treatment during the Rugby World Cup Pool D game at Sapporo Dome between Australia and Fiji in Sapporo, Japan, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Fiji’s Peceli Yato is airborne to score a try against Australia during the Rugby World Cup Pool D game at Sapporo Dome between Australia and Fiji in Sapporo, northern Japan, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. (Masanori Takei/Kyodo News via AP)

SAPPORO, Japan — Australia winger Reece Hodge was cited Sunday for a dangerous tackle on Fiji flanker Peceli Yato in their Rugby World Cup group game.

Hodge's shoulder made contact with Yato's head and neck area while making the try-saving tackle on the Fijian in the first half of Australia's 39-21 win at the Sapporo Dome on Saturday. Hodge didn't appear to use his arms in making the tackle.

World Rugby said Hodge will attend a disciplinary hearing in Tokyo on a date to be confirmed. If he's found guilty Hodge, an imposing utility back with 38 test caps, will be banned for at least two weeks unless there are mitigating factors.

Two-time champion Australia is set to face Six Nations winner Wales in a crucial Pool D match next Sunday.

Yato left the field with concussion and missed the rest of the match. He could be ruled out of Fiji's next game against Uruguay on Wednesday.

Fiji players complained about the tackle at the time of the incident and asked referee Ben O'Keefe to refer it to the Television Match Official. But neither O'Keefe nor the TMO took any action.

Until the tackle, Yato was among the best players on the field and had the Australians under constant pressure.

He had already scored one try and Fiji was leading Australia when the big, powerful flanker had to leave the field. Fiji coach John McKee said losing Yato had a "big impact" on the game as Australia came from behind to win.

World Rugby says it's taking a tough stance on illegal tackles where contact is made to the head. The infringement can lead to a straight red card in games.

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More AP Rugby World Cup: https://www.apnews.com/RugbyWorldCup and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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