World Rugby hands Reece Hodge three-week ban for dangerous tackle

TOKYO -- Wallabies winger Reece Hodge has been suspended for three weeks for a dangerous tackle on Fiji's Peceli Yato in Saturday's Rugby World Cup clash in Sapporo.

The ban means Hodge will miss Australia's remaining pool games against Wales, Uruguay and Georgia but leave him free to return for the quarterfinals.

Hodge wasn't sanctioned at the time of the tackle, with Fiji later referring the incident to the citing officer. He was then charged with a dangerous tackle, and, after a four-hour hearing in Tokyo On Wednesday, finally learned his fate.

Hodge's tackle was at the entry point for six weeks, but his suspension was downgraded to three on account of his "good character and conduct."

"The committee applied World Rugby's mandatory mid-range entry point, which was introduced in 2017 to mitigate the risk of head injuries, which according to World Rugby's sanctions table, carries a minimum six-match suspension," World Rugby's judiciary statement read.

"Having acknowledged Hodge's exemplary disciplinary record, good character and conduct at the hearing, the committee reduced the six-match entry point by three matches, resulting in a sanction of three matches.

"Hodge will miss Australia's three remaining pool matches. The suspension will end at midnight on 11 October, 2019 after which he is free to resume playing.

"The player has the right to appeal the decision within 48 hours of receiving the written decision."

The punishment will likely irk Wallabies coach Michael Cheika who had already expressed his disappointment at the way in which Fiji had handled the situation.

Dane Haylett-Petty and Adam Ashley-Cooper loom as the most likely options to replace Hodge for Sunday's crunch clash with Wales.