Welsh flanker Ross Moriarty promptly took to Instagram last night to apologise for his involvement in an unsavoury incident in the 82nd minute of Wales’s 30-12 series-clinching win over Argentina in Santa Fe.
Tempers flared with Wales 25 points ahead going into the final ten minutes as Moriarty was robustly manhandled by Argentinian No.10 Nicolas Sanchez.
Sanchez appeared to purposely drive his forearm into Moriarty’s head as he fell over the Welshman, which prompted the shocking response from the flanker and a deserved red-card.
As you can see in the video below, Moriarty rose to his feet and placed Sanchez in an aggressive and potentially dangerous chokehold, getting behind the Argentinian playmaker to do so. The incident occurred directly in front of the assistant referee who tried in vain to persuade Moriarty to release his grip.
It took the intervention of one of the Argentinian medical staff to end the furore, the medic confronting the flanker before eventually shoving a fist into his face.
Referee Jaco Peyper was clearly in no doubt as to the seriousness of Moriarty’s actions, telling the video referee:
"Eight red is clearly going deliberately around the neck, and he’s in a chokehold and he’s not releasing, even though the assistant referee is trying to pull them off three times, he’s not releasing.
"For me that is very dangerous, and deliberate…so that for me is a red card."
There was no argument from Moriarty as he accepted his marching orders, the Welshman no doubt already regretting an incident which could overshadow his otherwise stellar performances over the course of this series.
His apology came the way of Instagram, posting:
"Sorry for my reaction at the end of the game. Extremely proud of this squad and our performances on tour. Didn’t want to end it on that note!"
Another impressive Welsh display secured a first series triumph over Argentina since 1999. The victory also sees them leapfrog England in the world rankings to third, their highest position since they were in second after beating England at the 2015 World Cup.
Welsh head coach Warren Gatland addressed Moriarty’s red card in the post-match press conference.
"Ross has just reacted after being hit from behind and he’s grabbed him.
"I’m not too sure it was a red card, but you accept the referee’s decision. From his point of view, the only bonus is he perhaps gets another couple of weeks of pre-season!
"In fairness to Ross, he’s disappointed in himself. He’s apologised, and he’s apologised to the player. It’s disappointing but we won’t take too much out of that."
A lengthy ban remains a possible punishment, although Moriarty’s prompt and contrite apology may see him granted a measure of leniency.
Meanwhile, Wales will hope they can maintain the fine form that has seen them rise to their lofty position near the top of the rankings as the 2019 World Cup begins to loom large.