Australian flanker Michael Hooper has been cited for alleged dangerous play against England, in the match which saw Australia knock England out of their own World Cup.
Alleged dangerous play
The incident in question occurred during Australia’s convincing 33-13 victory of the host nation England, which saw the hosts eliminated from the tournament after just three games.
Hooper has been cited for an incident which involved England full-back Mike Brown. During a ruck towards the end of the first half in the England match, Hooper took exception to a big tackle on his teammate, as a result he cleared Mike Brown out of the ensuing ruck with what appeared to only be his shoulders.
Replays show Hooper connecting with the upper body of Mike Brown with a lack of an attempt to wrap round as you are required to do.
Steve Hinds the citing commissioner reported Hooper for allegedly “charging into a ruck or maul without use of the arms or grasping the player”.
The alleged dangerous play by Michael Hooper resulted in a confrontation between Hooper and Brown, with Brown taking a strong exception to what he perceived as an overly physical clear out.
Possible punishment for Hooper
Obviously if Hooper is found innocent in the eyes of the independent panel, then the case will be dropped and he will be free to play against Wales in a group deciding fixture.
However if he is found guilty of the offence then he is certain to miss the fixture against Wales, which would be a huge blow for the Aussies with him being an influential part of their starting XV.
Logically he could possibly miss more than just one game as it goes in the dangerous play category.
Sanctions if found guilty range from two weeks, five weeks and possibly even 10 weeks. Although it must be noted that to get a 10 week ban for dangerous play, the offence has to be major.
Should the referee have taken action at the time?
Hindsight is a wonderful thing as the saying goes. With England needing to win they would of taken any help they could get, help including referee Roman Poite taking action on Hooper’s alleged dangerous play himself.
The fact that Hooper has been cited suggests the committee believes that it is a ban able offence, while it is still alleged and the flanker could be found innocent, the citing in itself suggests that the committee believes it at least needs to be investigated.
What is odd about this is that referee Roman Poite could not have been in a better position if he tried for the incident, being perfectly positioned beside the ruck. It is impossible that the veteran referee could have missed the altercation between Hooper and Brown. Therefore the lack of action indicates that Poite believes there was not enough in the incident to escalate the situation.
Now if he is to be banned by the committee it is implying that Poite made a mistake and England fans who are still reeling from their defeat, will feel even more hurt especially as fly-half Owen Farrell was sin-binned later in the same game for a dangerous tackle.