Wallabies back World Cup diving crackdown

The Wallabies have wholeheartedly backed the directive for referees to rid the World Cup of the “football culture” of diving, saying it is not part of the way they play the game.

On Wednesday, the head of the Rugby World Cup match officials committee revealed that players who dived or feigned injury to gain an advantage would be committing a sin-bin offence – and could face a ban for repeat offences.

Citing commissioners will watch the game from touchlines using Hawk-Eye camera technology and can give warnings for offences that referees may not see.

Wallabies defensive coach Nathan Grey, a World Cup winner in 1999, applauded the crackdown.

“We don’t (do that). We just get on with the game,” he said.

“There’s so many things going on that you need to be more focused on than that shit.

“It’s just a matter of (trusting) the referees to do their job.”

The former centre, renowned for his hard-tackling style and aggressive runs, did hold some concerns over how the rules would be consistently applied.

“Who determines whether someone is faking an injury or not?” he said.

“You’d hate to call someone on it and then it turns out to be serious.

“I think it’s a bit of a grey area. (But) we can’t control it. We’ll let (the referees) worry about that.”

Australian vice-captain Michael Hooper found himself at the centre of controversy when he was given a suspension for striking Argentina’s Nicholas Sanchez during the Rugby Championship.

Hooper argued his strike was little more than an open-handed slap, while Sanchez stayed down on the ground for some time before receiving treatment.

Ultimately, the SANZAR judicial hearing sided with Hooper on the severity of the slap – and his ban was reduced from two matches to one, which amounted to a slap on the wrist.

While not specifically commenting on the Sanchez incident, Hooper indicated was also pleased that diving would be punished at the World Cup.

“I’d never really thought about it up until that point where I had that (Sanchez) incident a while ago,” he said.

“Going on, it’s not the way we’re looking to play the game.

“We’re looking to have 15 guys on their feet for the whole game.

“That’s how we’ve been training for the past couple of weeks. It’s not really going to come into our thinking.

“I guess (the crackdown) is a good thing if that’s going to be the competition – a real, genuine game where the best team wins and you can try and keep the ref out of it as much as possible.”

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