Ardie Savea set to face further scrutiny over throat-slitting gesture


Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea clashes with Melbourne Rebels first-five Carter Gordon.

Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea clashes with Melbourne Rebels first-five Carter Gordon.

Ardie Savea’s apology may not be enough to avoid punishment for his throat-slitting gesture.

The star All Blacks loose forward was yellow-carded in Friday night’s Super Rugby match between the Hurricanes and the Melbourne Rebels in Melbourne.

After being singled out by referee James Doleman following a melee involving players from both teams before halftime, Savea made a throat-slitting gesture towards Rebels halfback Ryan Louwrens and appeared to threaten him as he made his way to the sin bin.

Savea was given 10 minutes on the sidelines for “escalating” the situation, according to referee Doleman, after Dane Coles and lock Josh Canham wrestled on the ground and players from both teams came flooding in.

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When interviewed after the match, Savea apologised for making the gesture.

“I can understand the fans are furious around the gesture that I made,” he told Sky Sport.


The Crusaders thumped the Highlanders 52-15 in Melbourne.

“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.

However, the tournament’s governing body, Sanzaar, is likely to seek a disciplinary panel hearing to further investigate the incident, which could lead to a suspension for Savea.

Rebels captain Reece Hodge complained to Doleman that “he’s threatening to kill him”.

However, Wallabies player Matt Toomua felt Savea “deserves our understanding”.

Toomua tweeted: “Ardie Savea gave a heartfelt apology after the match. He has been a great role model to kids for a long time and I think he deserves our understanding. Maybe we use this to show the importance of owning up to mistakes sincerely apologising.”

Irish rugby international John Cooney defended Savea’s on-field actions.

“Sorry but there is nothing wrong with this. He’s not watching on tv. He’s physically competing with 100kg + people. He’s competing in a contact sport. If he did it to me it would not bother me (bar me s…ting myself). I’m sure it happens all the time across club level!,” Cooney tweeted.