USA player Fane Eti Haungatau is facing a ban for a "savage" tackle on Wales fly-half Robyn Wilkins which match officials deemed was a yellow card only. Ioan Cunningham's Wales side were leading 26-13 in their WXV warm-up match on Saturday when Wilkins was the victim of a dangerous tackle 70 minutes in.

Sale Sharks centre Haungatau was sent to the sin bin after a TMO intervention resulted in a yellow card, while Wilkins also exited the game early for a head injury assessment. With USA spreading the ball wide, Haungatau chipped ahead before racing towards the ball which was being gathered by Wilkins. The USA player proceeded with her challenge and knocked Wilkins to the ground and backwards, an incident which incensed her Wales teammates. Referee Clara Munarini did not blow her whistle, so both teams continued play, with Wales scoring another try just 40 seconds later.

TMO Andrew McMenemy's intervention resulted in the yellow card for USA, with the referee heard on camera saying that Wilkins' low height was a big factor in the card being yellow and not red. Now, Six Nations Rugby have announced that the USA player has been cited and will attend an independent disciplinary hearing on Thursday.

A statement said: "USA replacement, Fane Eti Haungatau, will attend an independent disciplinary hearing after she was cited for an act of foul play contrary to Law 9.13 (A player must not tackle an opponent early, late or dangerously. Dangerous tackling includes, but is not limited to, tackling or attempting to tackle an opponent above the line of the shoulders even if the tackle starts below the line of the shoulders.) in the WXV warm-up match between Wales and the USA on Saturday 30th September. The player will attend a hearing via video conference before an independent judicial committee consisting of Jennifer Donovan – chair (Ireland), joined by former internationals Stefan Terblanche (South Africa) and Ofisa Junior Tonu’u (New Zealand). Following a request from USA Rugby on behalf of the player, the hearing will take place on Thursday 5 October 2023."

Former Wales centre Alecs Donovan, commentating for WRU TV alongside Sean Holley, said of the tackle: "It looked absolutely savage. I can hardly watch it. It doesn't get more dangerous than that."

Pundit and former coach Holley said: "It's very dangerous. It's reckless. Personally I think that's direct reckless contact to the head. I'm not an official, and yes there might be some mitigation, but for me, that's a red card."

Donovan added: "You're talking about dangerous tackles, head on head, it doesn't get more dangerous than that. You have to have discipline now."

Wales went on to win the game 38-13 in an encouraging display on the eve of World Rugby's inaugural WXV tournament. Aimed at closing the gap between teams ahead of the 2025 Women's Rugby World Cup in England, the competition is split into three tiers, with Wales qualifying for the top tier in New Zealand where they will face reigning world champions Black Ferns, World Cup semi-finalists Canada and Australia in October and November.