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Fiji coach John McKee fires back at Michael Cheika

TOKYO -- Fiji coach John McKee has returned serve at Wallabies counterpart Michael Cheika, staunchly defending his team's referral of Reece Hodge for a Rugby World Cup citing.

McKee also questioned Cheika's version of the spirit of rugby a day after the Australia coach slammed him for going "behind his back" which has ultimately landed winger Hodge a date with the World Cup judiciary.

"Maybe Michael Cheika's views of what's within the spirit of the game are slightly different to some other people, but it's not up to me to decide what exactly he meant by that comment," McKee said.

Cheika was incensed that New Zealander McKee, a former Australian age group assistant coach, had never told him he planned to refer Hodge when the pair spoke convivially after fulltime of Saturday's pool match in Sapporo.

Hodge's tackle denied Fiji a potential try and left forward Peceli Yato concussed. Yato had to sit out the last 55 minutes of the game and McKee confirmed the flanker has also been ruled out of Wednesday's match against Uruguay in Kamaishi.

McKee had no regret at referring Hodge's tackle.

"From our side, we lost a player who was nearly the most influential player on the park ... for the rest of the game, and because of the head injury he can't play in this game either."

McKee said all players and coaches are aware of World Rugby guidelines around the citing process.

Match citing officers are entitled to take an incident further if he believes it has been missed by the four matchday officials.

Cheika said on Monday he had never referred an incident to a citing official in his life and was disappointed with how McKee went about it.

"I don't find the way that they brought that (referral) in the spirit of the game at all, which is something you know from Fiji," Cheika said.

"I'd prefer that they come up to me and get upset with me if they're really upset about it, not to just talk to me in that nice, friendly chitty-chat way and then go behind your back and put in a referral."

Hodge's judicial hearing is on Wednesday afternoon [JST].