Super Rugby

Ardie Savea makes throat-slitting gesture towards opponent after sin-binning

The All Blacks No 8 was sent for ten minutes when captaining the Hurricanes against the Rebels

All Blacks No 8 Ardie Savea could find himself in hot water after 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.

Related: New Zealand Rugby World Cup squad

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 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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