Suspended Ardie Savea throat-cutting one match ban on top of Yellow Card

Suspended Ardie Savea throat-cutting one match ban on top of Yellow Card

It was not solely the much-criticized throat-cutting act from the suspended Ardie Savea that contributed to his citing. The judgement included an on-field sanction handed to him when the Hurricanes played the Melbourne Rebels on Saturday, March 4.

Sanzaar’s judiciary committee did not deem the throat-cutting gesture met the threshold for a red card, Savea was issued with a one-game suspension for persistent offending because the incident occurred in the same game as his yellow card. He was marched in the 33-39 victory for an infringement during a ruck, so when the teams tussled and were finally separated, Savea was sent from the field by the referee for ‘unsportsman like’ conduct. Beginning to leave, the ‘verbal spray’ continued, and he made a hand gesture to a Rebels player.

In fact, out of character for the usually composed Savea. However, it has raised the commentary whether an act of aggression in a contact sport, can be reprimanded (in conjunction with another offence). The two might seem related to one ‘flair up’, though with Savea being removed, he became involved in an unnecessary argument, and may have retaliated to a taunt from a Melbourne Rebels opponent. Yet that should not have initiated such a visual action; one that is used in popular sports, such as Professional Wrestling, to indicate that “you’re going down”.

Suspended Ardie Savea throat-cutting one-match ban on top of Yellow Card

A regretful Ardie Savea reportedly spoke immediately to his teammates, apologizing, and to a degree anticipating actions to follow from rugby administrators. Correct, as the Citing Commissioner soon acted on Sunday, March 5. And on Tuesday, they handed down the sentence of a one-match suspension.

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A day later, Hurricanes head coach Jason Holland faced the media; on behalf of the suspended Ardie Savea. Holland explained how “He accepted it pretty much straight away. When he was sitting in the sin bin for 10 minutes [he knew] it was something he shouldn’t have done,” Holland said. “I’m aligned with him on that and to get the one-week sanction is the way it is and we accept it.”

“As Ards said after the game he accepted he did something he shouldn’t have done so the one-week is the sanction, and Ardie was sorry and we just have to get on with accepting that and get on with what comes next.”

The facts are not in question, with the incident shown on live Super Rugby Pacific coverage of the Super Round Two matches. How fans reacted was seen on social media, with observers like former All-Black, Sir John Kirwan, weighing in on the act. He spoke on Sunday night. “Total mistake from Ardie, but he fronted up straight away and apologised,” Kirwan said on Sky Sport’s Breakdown. “It should not go to the judicial, I don’t believe.

‘We want to send a strong message to the kids, but that was it, ‘I’m sorry, I made a mistake, I wasn’t good enough and I need to get better’.

“That’s what you want from your leaders. We need to be a little bit careful too because sometimes we make those gestures when we do the haka as well”.

That is a valid point; New Zealand Rugby has been questioned on the hand gesture yet with respect to the performance of Kapa o’Pango, the actions are not an exact thumb across the throat. As explained by NZR, it represents “drawing vital energy into the heart and lungs”. The gesture has been interpreted as a “throat slitting” that led to accusations that Kapa o’Pango encourages violence, and sends the wrong message to All Blacks fans. Now Savea has too caused a misinterpretation that has cost the player one Super Rugby match against the table-topping Blues.

After the game Sunday, the suspended Ardie Savea gave his one public comment on the incident, explaining; “I can understand the fans are furious around the gesture that I made,” he told Sky Sport post-match. “It’s just a heat of the moment kinda thing. It’s footy.”

“Kids are watching us, we’re in the heat of the moment. Usually, that’s out of character for me, so I put my hand up first and I apologise for that”. He would also apologize to his squad and will hope that by him missing the important Round Three clash, the franchise does not suffer directly from an unsavoury incident.

Hurricanes v Blues – Saturday, 7:05 pm. Sky Stadium, Wellington


“Main photo graphic courtesy of Hurricanes rugby Twitter page