New Zealand back row Ardie Savea could find himself in disciplinary trouble after making a slit-throat gesture towards another player during a game.
Savea, captaining the Hurricanes against the Melbourne Rebels in Super Rugby Pacific, had just received a yellow card but continued an argument with home scrum-half, Ryan Louwrens.
The 29-year-old appeared to threaten Louwrens verbally as he left the field, drawing a thumb across his neck.
One of New Zealand rugby’s highest profile and biggest stars, Savea apologised after the game for what he described as a “heat of the moment” incident.
Bit of push and shove and Ardie Savea is NOT happy 😡
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“I can understand the fans are furious around the gesture that I made,” the All Blacks number eight told Stan Sport.
“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.”
Savea had initially seen yellow after being deemed an instigator after a period of pushing and scrummaging as tempers flared in Melbourne towards the end of the first half.
Referee James Doleman produced a yellow card for the Hurricanes captain, but did not further intervene after Savea clashed with Louwrens while departing the pitch.
Savea, who had scored twice in the first half, returned to the field after his period in the sin bin to help the Hurricanes hold on to a 39-33 win.
The dynamic back row, named All Blacks player of the year at the end of 2022, will depart the Hurricanes for Japanese side Kobelco Kobe Steelers after the Rugby World Cup in the autumn.