Wellington Hurricanes captain Ardie Savea on Friday apologized for making a throat-slitting gesture toward an opponent during a Super Rugby Pacific match in Melbourne, conceding he needs “to be better.”
Savea ran his thumb across his throat during a verbal exchange with Melbourne Rebels halfback Ryan Louwrens after being shown a yellow card in their round two match, won 39-33 by the New Zealand side.
The 29-year-old Savea, regarded as one of the world’s premier players, was shown the card for “escalating” the situation, referee James Doleman said, with players from both teams involved in a fracas late in the first half.
Rebels veteran Reece Hodge complained immediately to Doleman that stiffer punishment was needed as Savea’s gesture toward Louwrens was “threatening to kill him.”
Savea said that he lost control and regretted the action.
“I can understand the fans are furious around the gesture that I made,” he told host broadcaster Stan Sports. “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 apologize for that.”
Savea said that the fiery encounter with Louwrens was “just normal banter in the game,” but added that it was not a good look from a player regarded as a role model.
“We’re trying to clean up the game. I understand, there’s no excuse for me, I’ve got to be better,” he said.
He said he got a dressing-down from his father after the game.
“I got off the field and my old man called me and kind of groaned me off, so that’s a lesson learned,” he told reporters. “He’s a pretty calm dude, it’s not often I get a call like that after the game. Mum was in the crowd, too, and she asked if I was all good, because usually I’m not like that.”
Savea’s action overshadowed his dominant on-field performance at No. 8, having scored the first two Hurricanes’ tries and set up the third.
It helped seal his team’s second straight win of the season after beating the Queensland Reds 47-13 the previous week, while piling pressure on the Rebels, who have now lost two-from-two.
Savea could face further penalty from the tournament judiciary, a worry for coach Jason Holland with a big clash against the Auckland Blues looming next week.
“Obviously I hope it doesn’t go any further,” Holland said. “Ards is not happy with that, but we all make errors and we’ve got to just accept them and get on with it.”
In Friday’s other match in the Super Round — in which all six games this weekend are played at Melbourne’s AAMI Park — the Canterbury Crusaders thrashed the Otago Highlanders 52-15, while yesterday, the Waikato Chiefs beat Moana Pasifika 52-29 and the NSW Waratahs beat the Fijian Drua 46-17.
Additional reporting by staff writer
TROUNCED: Taiwan beat Palestine in six innnings on day three of the Asia Baseball Championship, while it took just five innings for Japan to defeat Thailand Taiwan yesterday beat Palestine 19-0 at the Taichung Intercontinental Baseball Stadium on the third day of the Asian Baseball Championship. The Group A game was over in six innings after a 6:03pm start. Taiwan went on the offensive from the first inning, scoring three runs, but the real damage was done in the third inning, when they scored seven. The Palestine players are all studying or working in the US. In another duel between two unevenly matched teams, Japan thrashed Thailand 16-0 in their late Group B game at the Taipei Dome. They won in five innings thanks to the mercy rule, which states
CUP READY: Although Taiwan lost, they qualified, along with Japan and South Korea, for next year’s U-23 World Baseball Cup, which is to be held in China for the first time Japan yesterday edged Taiwan 1-0 to win the Asian Baseball Championship at Taipei Dome, despite star pitcher Hsu Jo-hsi giving up just four hits in six innings. Unlike their showdown in the 2019 tournament when Taiwan pipped Japan 5-4, this time the teams battled for every hit, with the Wei Chuan Dragons’ Hsu striking out eight batters, giving up just one run off four hits. That was all world No. 1 Japan needed for the title, and after outlasting Taiwan for a 1-0 victory in 10 innings in the Super Round on Friday, they finished the tournament unbeaten. Yesterday’s first two innings flew
NATIONS LEAGUE: England crushed Scotland 6-0, but their Olympic hopes were ruined when the Netherlands beat them on goal difference with a 4-0 win against Belgium Germany and the Netherlands on Tuesday booked their places at the UEFA Women’s Nations League finals , where they are also to fight for spots at next year’s Paris Games, but there was heartbreak for England whose hopes of competing in the Olympics were dashed, despite beating Scotland 6-0. Germany drew 0-0 in Wales, but secured their passage thanks to Iceland’s 1-0 win over Denmark. The Netherlands needed a 95th-minute goal from Damaris Egurrola to see them to a 4-0 win over Belgium which meant they edged England on goal difference in Group A1 after the FIFA Women’s World Cup runners-up hammered
Now that Shohei Ohtani has his money — a record US$700 million, 10-year contact with the Los Angeles Dodgers — some fans in Japan are waiting for one more thing to complete the deal. “I want Ohtani to play in the World Series,” said Isshin Watanabe, a baseball fan speaking yesterday near Tokyo’s famous Ginza shopping area. “That’s my hope,” he added. Baseball fans across Tokyo yesterday lined to buy special editions of the Yomiuri Shimbun, announcing Ohtani’s move across town from the Los Angeles Angels to the Dodgers. This is perhaps the largest contract in sports history, topping highs believed to be set