New Zealand's Hore handed five-week ban
Rugby:New Zealand hooker Andrew Hore was banned for five weeks, but just two competitive matches, for striking Wales lock Bradley Davies in last Saturday’s Test match at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
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 February 22nd.
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.
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.
Crerar deemed the incident to be “inherantly 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 Crerar took into account a number of mitigating factors, including his daily contact with Davies.
The disciplinary statement said: “The judicial officer heard submissions in detail as to when the suspension should end given that the player was entering the close season.
“The judicial officer received unreserved assurances from Ian Foster, assistant coach, New Zealand, the player and his legal representative that the pre-season matches to be played by the Highlanders during the weekends of 1st, 8th and 15th February all had significant and meaningful consequences for the player.
“The player is accordingly suspended up to and including Sunday 24 February 2013 and has the right of appeal.”
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.