WATCH: Ardie Savea makes slit throat gesture in heated Hurricanes win over Rebels
Hurricanes number eight Ardie Savea sent social media into a frenzy on Friday when he made a slit throat gesture to a Melbourne Rebels opponent.
With half-time looming large, things were becoming heated on the Hurricanes’ try-line as the Rebels pressed for a score, with pushing and shoving taking place.
Once things had cooled down referee James Doleman was able to speak with the players and singled out the All Black after he had inflamed the initial clashes.
Savea apologised after the match
Doleman showed Savea a yellow card but before the back-row departed he left those watching stunned when he singled out Ryan Louwrens with that gesture.
It remains to be seen what repercussions will come Savea’s way in the aftermath to this fixture, which the Hurricanes managed to come out on top by 39 to 33.
“I can understand the fans are furious around the gesture that I made,” the number eight told Stan Sport after the high scoring showdown in Melbourne.
“It’s just a heat of the moment kind of 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.
“For me, to get a yellow card for a push and shove… that’s just where rugby’s going.
“I’ve got to be better. We’re trying to clean up the game. I understand, there are no excuses for me, I’ve got to be better.”
The ‘Canes were made to come from behind after openside flank Bradley Wilkin crossed for the Rebels on three minutes, with Reece Hodge slotting the extras.
Enter Savea, who claimed a brace of tries in the 13th and 28th minute as it looked like being a memorable game for the New Zealand star for the right reasons.
Savea would then go on to set up full-back Josh Moorby for the Hurricanes’ third try as the New Zealanders were 24-7 in front as the first 40 drew to a close.
However, before Doleman could blow the whistle came the fracas between the teams and Savea’s moment of madness which saw him carded by the official.
Upon the sides’ return after the break, Lachlan Anderson’s try on 46 minutes would pull the Rebels back into the game before Carter Gordon made it 24-19.
Those two scores would come after Hurricanes prop Tevita Mafileo saw his yellow card for a high tackle upgraded to red, leaving the visitors short for longer.
Salesi Rayasi’s crossing on 63 minutes did help steady the ship for the ‘Canes as they went 34-19 in front, but Ryan Hardwick responded five minutes later.
Hardwick crossed again with six minutes to play to make it a one-point ball game in Melbourne before Jordie Barrett’s late crossing secured the victory for the Hurricanes, making it a two wins out of two start to the Super Rugby Pacific season for the Kiwi side.
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