DCSIMG

Five-week ban for All Black hooker Hore

New Zealand hooker Andrew Hore was banned for five weeks – but just two competitive matches – for striking Wales lock Bradley Davies.

Hore’s suspension rules him out of Saturday’s Test against England and it includes the first game of the Highlanders’ 2013 Super Rugby season, against the Chiefs on 22 February.

But judicial officer Professor Lorne Crerar has come under fire for including three pre-season matches in the ban after being convinced they “all had significant and meaningful consequences” for Hore, with Wales Online writer Gareth Griffiths calling the decision “a disgrace”.

Davies was knocked unconscious after he was hit from 
behind by Hore’s swinging 
arm, just 30 seconds into the All Blacks’ 33-10 win at the Millennium Stadium.

Professor Crerar deemed the incident to be “inherently dangerous” and a top-end offence but he accepted Hore had not intended to strike Davies in the head. Hore was initially hit with an eight-week ban but that was reduced to five when Professor Crerar took into account a number of mitigating factors, including his daily contact with Davies.

The incident, which was not seen by referee Craig Joubert or his assistants, left Davies with concussion that has ruled him out of Wales’ final autumn Test against Australia.

Professor Crerar ruled the swinging-arm offence was unprovoked and “inherently dangerous being a deliberate swinging of the arm delivered with significant force, causing serious injury to the victim player, Bradley Davies, who was unsighted”.

But Hore was cleared of deliberately targeting Davies’ head and the judgement found there were no aggravating factors.

With Hore out of the Twickenham clash with England, New Zealand coach Steve Hansen may have to award Dane Coles his first Test start if veteran hooker Keven Mealamu fails to recover from a calf injury.

 

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