The All Blacks No 8 ran his thumb across his throat after being sin-binned against the Rebels


All Blacks No 8 Ardie Savea has received a one-week ban for making a throat-slitting gesture towards an opponent after being sin-binned for the Hurricanes against the Melbourne Rebels in Super Rugby Pacific.

Savea, 29, was shown a yellow card for his part in ‘escalating’ a scuffle right on the cusp of half-time. It was a negative note to end a fantastic 40 minutes for the back-rower.

Read more: How to watch Super Rugby Pacific

Savea, who was captaining the Hurricanes, scored two tries and set up another for Josh Moorby to give his side a commanding 24-7 lead at the midway point.

The skipper got involved in some pushing and shoving which started with Dane Coles and second-row Josh Canham wresting on the ground with referee James Doleman deciding Savea’s intervention was worthy of a yellow card.

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However, Savea wasn’t done there as he carried on and clearly dragged his thumb across his throat in the direction of Rebels scrum-half Ryan Louwrens as he made his way off to take his seat by the side of the pitch.

Savea had orginally got involved to pull Rebels fly-half Carter Gordon out of the melee, a point he tried to make with ref Doleman but it wasn’t enough to change the official’s mind.

Ardie Savea ban explained

Savea was cited by SANZAAR and will miss his side’s upcoming home clash against the Blues.

A ruling read: “Following the match, Savea was cited for a separate incident occurring immediately after the first offence – again under law 9.27: A player must not do anything that is against the spirit of good sportsmanship.”

The panel decided that “due to the nature of the player’s persistent offending with both the yellow card and the warning being issued for unsportsmanlike play, that an appropriate sanction for the player would be a suspension of one week.”

Ardie Savea gesture: reaction

Former All Blacks full-back Mils Muliaina suggested the incident was out of the norm for the usually cool, calm and composed icon of the game.

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Speaking on the Sky Sport NZ broadcast, Muliaina said: “It’s out of character really for Ardie to do that. He’s been instrumental in this game, his powerful play but also setting that try up with his ball play.

“He’s inspirational as well but that nine minutes [in the bin] is probably going to help the Rebels.”

Savea had the last laugh on the field as his Hurricanes side held off a Rebels fightback to prevail 39-33.

However, the All Black insisted he had to be better going forward after making the gesture in the heat of the moment, saying: “I can understand the fans are furious around the gesture I made. I understand kids are watching us. That’s out of character for me. There’s no excuse, I’ve got to be better.”

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