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Sunday, June 23, 2013

James Horwill cleared after alleged stamp on Alun-Wyn Jones in first Test

The Wallabies appear to have dodged a bullet after captain James Horwill was cleared following an incident in the first Test loss to the British and Irish Lions on Saturday. He was cited after allegedly stamping Alun-Wyn Jones.

[updated] The Wallabies are already in a bad place injury wise, and it looked as though Horwill, who had only just returned to Test rugby after a lengthy injury layoff, would be out of the rest of the series after having been cited for a stamp.

Debutant centre Christian Leali'ifano left the field on a stretcher within the first minute of the game, and later both Berrick Barnes (jaw) and Pat McCabe (neck) suffered a similar fate, while Adam Ashley-Cooper appeared to have injured his shoulder. 

Horwill will be availble for the second Test however, as he has been cleared of stamping following a lengthy disciplinary hearing in Melbourne earlier today.

Judicial officer Nigel Hampton QC found that on the balance of probabilities, the Horwill could not be found guilty of an intentional or deliberate action of stamping or trampling under law 10.4(b).

"After hearing all the evidence I could not find that, when James Horwill's right foot came into glancing contact with Alun-Wyn Jones' face, that he was acting recklessly," Hampton said.

Horwill appeared to stamp on Alun-Wyn Jones in the third minute, with video evidence showing that his boot grazed the side of the lock's face, who had to get stiches after the game.

"I found that I could not reject as being implausible or improbable Horwill's explanation that, as he was driving forward with his right leg raised, he was spun off balance through the impact of Lions players entering the ruck from the opposite side," Hampton continued.

"In an endeavour to regain his balance, Horwill brought his right leg to the ground unknowing that Alun-Wyn Jones' head was in that area, due to having his sight impeded by the presence of Michael Hooper and Tom Croft who were beneath him and over the top of Alun-Wyn Jones.

"Due to these reasons, I cannot uphold the citing."

The decision will no doubt anger Lions management, as well as fans, who may feel that there is a bit of history with host teams getting off lightly with incidents during Lions tours. 

"I played in the days of rucking and I've still got some scars from some good ruckings," said Warren Gatland. "The head to me was sacrosanct... you stay away from that." 

UPDATE 27-06-13 - The IRB will appeal the decision
Horwill is free to play pending the outcome, which means his selection for the second Test stands. If anything, he'll likely miss the third and some of the Rugby Championship.

View highlights from the first Test | Gatland talks about the incident

Page: 12View All

Posted by Rugbydump at 9:28 am | View Comments (118)

Posted in British & Irish Lions 2013, Big Hits & Dirty Play

Viewing 118 comments

Miler June 23, 2013 12:23 pm

Doesn't look good in slow mo ...

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larry June 24, 2013 11:49 pm

It was a stamp. It deserves several weeks ban. The QC was very wrong.

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Sheepy June 23, 2013 12:24 pm

Should get a ban for that. Was a blatant stamp.

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brawnybalboa June 23, 2013 12:25 pm

I didn't expect the stamp to be so blatant, it doesn't even look accidental! BOD got a 3 week ban for a stamp on the back, so a stamp to the face should be given a lot longer!

Face stamps can cause blindness and an end to a rugby career, just look at Gavin Quinnell!

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barebear June 23, 2013 12:26 pm

The problem for me is that it doesn't look like a natural movement at all - to cross your leg over like that. So in my mind it looks like it might be intentional.

But to be honest - I'm completely hoping it was an accident.

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Ade5157 June 24, 2013 2:22 pm

I agree, if he was 'off balance' he would have moved his right leg to the right to steady himself, not cross over his left leg to 'accidentally' make contact with AWJ's head. A blatant stamp, should've been a red card and 16 week ban.

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Briggsy June 23, 2013 12:29 pm

Looks deliberate to me but it would be a shame to see the Lions opposition weakened even more

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DrG June 23, 2013 12:30 pm

After I read about this late last night I found a fairly poor quality video on youtube (posted link in the previous Lions Wallabies video). Some people mentioned it being an awkward movement etc. I was unsure, but on further viewing, I think I'd have to agree. He was not being driven back, so there was no force which made him place his foot behind his body direction (sorry if that doesn't make sense)... and if he was trying to push forward, his foot wasn't placed in a particularly optimum place.

As Miler said, it doesn't look good. Not sure what his defence will be, other than perhaps "it was an accident"... just seemed like an unnatural movement..

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Mark64 June 23, 2013 12:31 pm

Yup, he's done like dinner.

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MattyJ June 23, 2013 12:44 pm

Wahey what a mug, jeopardize Australia's strength and his own caps for something so petty and unnecessary! Big ban for the face surely!?

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dai1988 June 23, 2013 12:46 pm

think this is going to be a lengthy ban. nothing accidental about that.

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NIge1980 June 23, 2013 12:47 pm

No sympathy for players who do things like this. They are professional sportsmen and know full well that there are cameras covering every conceivable angle. As mentioned above it is a totally unnatural action for a player to make in a game unless the intention was to hit AWJ.

5-6 weeks if BODs previous is anything to go by, but IRB notoriously inconsistent!

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MisterDavid June 23, 2013 12:48 pm

End of the series for Horwell: intentional stamp (as opposed to rucking the player off the ball, which I never have a problem with), and no mitigating factors like provocation.

Plus, stamping on the face of a prone man is nasty, dangerous, and cowardly.

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DrG June 23, 2013 3:18 pm

Not that it should make any difference, but no OBVIOUS mitigating factors...

Agree with your statement though..

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Coal_Face June 23, 2013 12:55 pm

That looks anything but accidental! He's looking straight down at Alun-Wyn Jones, picks his knee up, lines him up, stamps on his head, and looks up at the ref straight after doing it. What a cowardly act of violence!

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Phillyb June 23, 2013 12:58 pm

Very foolish behaviour from a captain. He's gone!

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spicksandspecks June 23, 2013 1:24 pm

Before all you Brits lay the boots in to James Horwill, let's just remember how many Wallabies were stretchered off the field Saturday night - 3. Two were accidental, but George North deliberately pushed Israel Folau very strongly into Berrick Barnes, leading to a nasty head clash. Don't see many of you calling for the citing commissioner for that.
Having said that, Horwill's action was reckless at best and probably deserves a suspension.
Just out of interest, have they sacked the ground manager yet for the shocking surface? I know it rained, but that was well below international standard.

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brawnybalboa June 23, 2013 1:34 pm

"George North deliberately pushed Israel Folau very strongly into Berrick Barnes, leading to a nasty head clash. Don't see many of you calling for the citing commissioner for that."

Do you do stand-up in your spare time?

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Andyloughranvet June 23, 2013 4:08 pm

Folly stood in North's way to block him off the ball. The small push that North gave him was fair enough. Catch a grip of yourself fella

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bm999 June 23, 2013 9:21 pm

It is up to the citing commission or the Australian management to refer the incident to the citing officer, as North was not cited, I presume that the incident was not considered sufficiently serious enough to warrant North being cited, just as an awful lot of the off the ball tactics employed by the home side, were also disregarded.

At least North's actions were legal and within in the laws of the game, the same can't be said for Mr Horwill's stamping, It does not surprise me that he got away with it, despite the overwhelming video evidence against him, it is historically very rare for anyone, let alone the captain of a home side to be punished when playing against a touring Lions side.

I wish all those who were unfortunately stretchered off a speedy recovery to full health and fitness, and I look forward to next weeks test, when hopefully the Lions will turn up and play to their full potential and secure a series victory against a strong and committed Australian side and that both sides play hard but above all both sides play fair and within the laws of the game.

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Spuff June 23, 2013 1:39 pm

I would say the stamp was intentional, especially as he looks down to place his boot.

As for Berrick Barnes incident, i feel he was unlucky and in the wrong place at the wrong time. I hope he has a speedy recovery but Israel Folau had the ball... Is George North not allowed to push him/tackle him? North done nothing outside the laws of the game
(to my knowledge), Barnes was very unlucky.

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James Kelly June 23, 2013 2:01 pm

I am sorry, I dont agree with you at all.Barns was thundering in George North was only concentrating on the ball and Folau, he did push falau slightly but we would all do that in an effort to get at the ball. It was unfortunate that the two players collided, but I dont think anyone could truthfully say that North was not trying to go for the ball. However Horwill's stamping on the face on an unprotected and vulnerable opponent was more than reckless, it was criminal. I am an Irishman, and in this series we Brits and Irish stand together, and look forward to an exciting and clean series.

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browner June 23, 2013 3:20 pm

S&S, you've been drowning your sorrows too much- clearly still misty eyed.

Yes GN pushed IF, but there are 100's of pushing incidents in a match ...... JH's assault was 3 mins into the match off the ball deliberate premeditated & cowardly. You've embarrassed yourself by even linking the incidents - shame on you.

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DrG June 23, 2013 3:33 pm

Feelings of patriotism from either country/nation etc aside, they are two separate incidents.

If the Aussies felt any grievance regarding Barnes injury, they'd have said so...

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matt June 23, 2013 5:15 pm

He had the fucking ball!? If he'd smashed into him like he should have, then Barnes would probably have died, knowing how fragile he is

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MisterDavid June 23, 2013 8:06 pm

"George North deliberately pushed Israel Folau"

... who had the ball in his hands.

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Fastmongrel June 23, 2013 1:30 pm

Saw the game highlights and they barely mentioned it and only showed it at normal slo mo and it looked nothing. In super slo mo with the magnifier it looks bad its the look at the ref that seals it for me that was no accidental boot that was a deliberate action. If it was an accident he would have been looking at Mike Phillips not the ref.

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RugbyBob June 23, 2013 1:34 pm

What a shame! He's looking at a nice little holiday now i think....after waiting all year for it he's done the stupidest thing in his career. Wyn-Jones got up and carried on. Shame for the Aussies, Lions test win next week for sure

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Kricklemeiester June 23, 2013 2:11 pm

Absolutely appalling.
Clearly deliberate,nasty,cynical and cowardly.
Minimum 12 match ban.
Any less and IRB a farce.
Bye bye Horwill the thug.

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mrjmmlc June 23, 2013 2:51 pm

its a shame that such an important player wont be able to play, but stamping on the face... i hope he gets a long ban

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browner June 23, 2013 3:33 pm

If this face stamp isn't a minimum Top End ban, then the Disciplinary Panel should all resign. Face stamping = no place in rugby - EVER

JH best defense would be to admit trying to stamp on AWJ but claim that he lost his balance as he crossed his legs & missed the shoulder he was aiming for !!!

Even that should get laughed out of the hearing !

IRB are you listening .......? Face stamping should have it's own 'sanctions' category 10.4[b] doesn't fit this action.

set up 10.4.b [1] Stamping above the shoulder
Low 52+ weeks
Mid 104+ weeks
Top 156+
with Life Bans for if the injured player is severely injured.

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Kiwi In Germany June 24, 2013 7:21 pm

Browner you see things so black and white you should be an All Blacks supporter. What about grey areas, mitigating factors. This is a contact sport and where a maul becomes a ruck (and all the time between) there is definitely potential for an accident of the foot standing on a player kind. Banning a player for a year as the lightest sentence, would in a lot of competitive environments end a players career.

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DrG June 24, 2013 8:11 pm

But isn't the whole point in sanctions to punish a player for the action and not the intent or outcome???

Punch someone like Bakkies Botha in the face and if there is anything left of you afterwards you might get a red card...

Punch someone like Berrick Barnes in the face with the same power, and you might end up killing him... but at the end of the day a punch is a punch...

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Tom June 23, 2013 3:37 pm

Judicial Officer, Nigel Hampton QC "could not find an intentional or deliberate action of stamping or trampling". "In an endeavour to regain his balance Horwill brought his right leg to the ground unknowing that Jones’ head was in that area."

The ARU must have a pretty sharp legal team to get him out of that!

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DrG June 23, 2013 3:51 pm

Struggling to see how he lost his balance BEFORE that happened... looks like he lost his balance as a result of the stamp...

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Tom June 23, 2013 4:17 pm

Longer summary of the decision - JH spun off-balance?!:

In handing down his decision, Judicial Officer, Nigel Hampton QC found that on the balance of probabilities he could not find an intentional or deliberate action of stamping or trampling.

“After hearing all the evidence I could not find that when James Horwill’s right foot came into glancing contact with Alun Wyn Jones’ face, that he Horwill was acting recklessly,” Mr Hampton said.

“I found that I could not reject as being implausible or improbable Horwill’s explanation that as he was driving forward with his right leg raised he was spun off balance through the impact of Lions players entering the ruck from the opposite side.

“In an endeavour to regain his balance Horwill brought his right leg to the ground unknowing that Alun Wyn Jones’ head was in that area, due to having his sight impeded by the presence of Michael Hooper and Tom Croft who were beneath him and over the top of Alun Wyn Jones.

“Due to these reasons I cannot uphold the citing.”

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browner June 23, 2013 3:43 pm

RESIGN - Nigel Hampton, you bring the game into disrepute !

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Leo June 23, 2013 3:49 pm

According the the BBC, he's been cleared to play in the second Test.

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Tc June 23, 2013 3:50 pm

Looks worse every time you see it. How on earth has he got away with that?

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Shocked June 23, 2013 3:55 pm

Not guilty??? That is quite frankly the most disgusting decision ever. That was a stamp to the face. Totally intentional and with no provocation. What a sham this is! It will reinforce to the lower leagues that stamping to the face is fine as long as you pretend to lose your balance. I am totally appalled!! Should the lions stamp on his face next week? Apparently it's fine!

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jog1986 June 23, 2013 3:57 pm

This is disgusting and has brought the game into disrepute. As rugby fans we pride ourselves on our sport imparting quick and fair punishments to those who fall foul of the laws. However, with Horwill being cleared of any wrongdoing we can no longer do so. The IRB should hang their heads in shame.

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musoyama June 23, 2013 3:58 pm

This is beyond ridiculous. He has finished up with his legs crossed right over left! That would only happen if you were deliberately trying to lose your balance rather than regain it. Watch it in HD and scroll it frame-by-frame and then decide how many weeks to ban. It's not rocket science. lol...though if the Lions needed something to light a fire...?

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mrjmmlc June 23, 2013 4:01 pm

this is f***ing ridculous!!!

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Dpc June 23, 2013 4:13 pm

If you lose your balance you don't normally try to put your leg next to your standing leg. He's leaning to his right so the natural think would be to make a wide base with his feet to compensate for loss of balance. I can't believe he got away with that. Hope he gets smashed next week, but within the laws of the game obviously, like josh lewesy did to Matt Rodgers.

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BOD is GOD June 23, 2013 4:16 pm

He got cleared of the charge. I agree. He wasn't looking down and couldn't see his head or where it was. Right decision.

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MattyJ June 23, 2013 6:29 pm

mate have you ever worn a scrumcap? it doesnt blind you. if your head is horizontal you can still see your feet... as horwill could when he did this. even if he couldn't see AWJ's head in what circumstances would you stamp a foot over the other at a ruck?

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Tom June 23, 2013 4:34 pm

What is it with the Lions and citings - memories of the BOD spear tackle anyone?!

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matt June 23, 2013 5:27 pm

Burger's eye gouge?

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AndyBoy June 23, 2013 5:42 pm

More thuggery passed over because it was the host nation. If Australia win the series, then this cheating episode will negate it. Expecting the usual Southern Hemisphere backlash for this comment but the truth is pure and simple.

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Laxy June 23, 2013 5:59 pm

He lost his balance as he directed his right foot into the ruck! That's a joke was he the same guy who found OJ Simpson not guilty.

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DrG June 23, 2013 6:06 pm

I think people are taking this very personally.

I have a few comments up there which I made whilst thinking about the incident. I am not in Horwills mind so I, and everyone else, will never truly know if it was intentional...

I am one of those people that ends up laughing when I hurt someone by accident (like a nervous laughter thing) and naturally my pleading of not guilty go unheard due to the fact I can't help smirk/giggle about it, even though I can truly say it was totally accidental.

So with that in mind, I can't help wonder whether this is similar, the angle we have shows a "deliberate stamp" (like my nervous laughing), yet the true story, is a simple loss of balance...

...of course he could have pulled his loss of balance story out of his lawyers arse, but either way, what is done is done. Whilst I think I am surprised by the verdict, lets not try and build this up to be the biggest travesty in Rugby history, and lets not take these things too personally.

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DrG June 23, 2013 10:18 pm

Oh just to keep jog happy, "yet the true story, is a simple loss of balance..." that is supposed to be "his account of the story, is a simple loss of balance"..

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MattyJ June 23, 2013 6:20 pm

yes, i too often stamp the right foot in an unsupporting position in front of the left leg to regain balance..... what a joke. blatently did it on purpose.

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Sam Main June 23, 2013 6:27 pm

Guilty. Whitewashed.

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Jonesthesteel June 23, 2013 6:31 pm

He looked..he stamped...end of!

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murph June 23, 2013 10:52 pm

No. He was found not guilty. End of.

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Reality June 23, 2013 7:44 pm

So a spear tackle in 2005, an eye gouge in 2009, a face stamp in 2013...I wonder what it's going to be in 2017. There aren't many more acts of foul play of this importance left that the citing commissioners can pardon. The All Blacks better get their thinking caps on.

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matt June 23, 2013 9:19 pm

Give the man his dues, Duncan McRae started this trend long before 2005.

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murph June 23, 2013 10:42 pm

do people in britain get paid to be victims these days?

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Reality June 23, 2013 10:46 pm

I don't live there, so I wouldn't know. I'd imagine not though.

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murph June 23, 2013 10:52 pm

hopefully you'll get over it then. it'll take 20 odd years for the paranoid victim conspirazoidism to be flushed out

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Kiwi In Germany June 24, 2013 7:38 pm

For someone calling yourself reality you certainly have an interesting perspective. Love the fact that you brought up that old broken record. I love listening to it. The All Blacks have better things to do like getting better every year and playing rugby. Hopefully beating SA this year as they look like quality competition.

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jimmybfg June 23, 2013 9:10 pm

How the F*ck did he get away with that. Disgusting decision, along with the Ref during the game. Shocking stuff.

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murph June 23, 2013 10:48 pm

whinge whine moan piss

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AndyBoy June 23, 2013 9:14 pm

And as for that ridiculous piece of commentary claiming that George North attempted to injure Barnes by pushing Felau? Come on!

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Dadof2liitleboys Top Comment | June 23, 2013 9:27 pm

Good to see the level of frustration and anger. I've read so much about the pride of playing for Lions and for Australia. Horwill's actions cowardly and diminish him in the eyes of his team-mates, opponents and supporters. He will run out next weekend with that seed of doubt that he is no longer a leader of men, nor deserving to captain a proud team to victory. Those responsible for this farce are similarly diminished and must remember that they are temporary custodians of the tone and tenor of a fantastic sport, not rulers of it. No excuses and let's hope that those of real substance grab the headlines next weekend.

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Buddha June 23, 2013 9:27 pm

How did he get away with what can only be described; as far as I am concerned, as deliberate and dangerous play. Run it fast or slow there ia no way he is trying to regain his balance other than after the deliberate stamp!

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Posty June 23, 2013 9:53 pm

total bullsh*t he got away with that. Was trying to drive forward my arse

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murph June 23, 2013 10:39 pm

good god. you soap dodgers really do get self-righteous and are utterly predictable. he was found not guilty just as bitey boy cian healy was. roll with it. it's not soccer. respect the ref and the judiciary.

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Reality June 23, 2013 10:54 pm

Good God, why can't you face the fact that people should be punished when they purposefully injure other people? He was found not guilty even though the evidence said otherwise, and considering that everyone except you and the citing commissioner thinks he's guilty, I'd say there's something not quite right with the innocent verdict.

Healy was found not guilty because there was no evidence whatsoever that he bit the guy - not even a bite mark. Horwell was found not guilty in spite of clear video evidence that he stamped on the guy's face with an unnatural movement. As you said, it's not soccer, so stop being so disrespectful to everyone - treating the posters here as if we're all stupid, whiney babies - and stop defending dangerous play.

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murph June 23, 2013 10:59 pm

Er no. Healy was cleared because there was insufficient evidence. There was evidence of a bite i.e. that Sheehan had bitemarks on his arm.

Horwill was cleared similarly.

I'm not defending dangerous play you little moany self righteous pommy. It was deemed an accident and the verdict has been made. Get. Over. It.

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jog1986 June 23, 2013 11:25 pm

Read the reports again there murph. There was no evidence of a bite. Whether you agree with the Horwill decision or not, there is no comparison.

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ivorbigun June 24, 2013 1:14 am

winning at all costs is a shallow victory in truth. the real honour is winning fair. and i believe this lions team will win despite the dodgy referee decisions.
the ref probably wants to get a bit of work after the lions tests are over by avoiding being slated in the bias press down under.

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ivorbigun June 24, 2013 1:37 am

i'll respect men of hounour not weak little men who stamp on people on the floor thank you surf.

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Reality June 24, 2013 11:57 pm

The verdict was made and I disagree with it. Get, over, it, you self-righteous Chilean.

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Benny June 23, 2013 11:00 pm

I would love to know if Brett Gosper will announce that the IRB plans to review the case and find a way to get Horwill banned. He did the same to get Adam Thompson a longer ban for a gentle tap to a Scotsman's head

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Bigwol June 24, 2013 12:11 am

Have you ever played rugby Murph? Those of us that have view stamping to the head with the disgust such a cowardly and deliberate attempt to injure another player deserves. Your attacks and insults on posters who disagree with your jaundiced view of this incident suggest either you didn't play or were the kind of thug the game is better off without. I'm no fan of Healy as I think he can be a dirty player at times but there was no evidence of a bite in that instance from the video I saw, whereas the evidence against Horwill is so damning I'm gob smacked he has got away with it. All I can say is he better be squeaky clean for the rest of the tests.

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ivorbigun June 24, 2013 1:01 am

you knob. deliberately stamping on the head is an act of complete should had you any honour in the yellow jersey and history of the wallabies hang your head in shame to attempt to accept victory in this manner.

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James Kelly June 24, 2013 1:40 am

In all the comments that have been put on , not one of you have the balls to put your name to your comment. So stop slagging each other for the sake of it.enjoy each game as it comes along, and if you have something serious to sat or comment about, then put your name to it. No bullshit! ......

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ivorbigun June 24, 2013 1:45 am

your comment is a joke isnt it?

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EatMyRugbyShorts June 24, 2013 2:03 am

Apologies for posting a sensible comment...

Whilst the video doesn't look good - the leg action just doesn't seem natural - I'm questioning whether Horwill could see where he was putting his feet. There are just too many bodies in the way. And if you look carefully his body does get twisted just before he puts his right foot down. Very difficult to control the positioning of your feet when under pressure - think of walking when carrying something heavy.

If it was a deliberate act then he deserves a massive ban as this has no place on a rugby field or anywhere else, however I can see why 'on the balance of probabilities' he's been cleared and it looks like the right decision.

And lets wish all the players injured in the match a full & speedy recovery - thought the medical teams were going to run out of neck braces at one point.

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ChillDoubt June 24, 2013 2:23 am

I'm questioning whether Horwill could see where he was putting his feet.
And I'm questioning your sanity. He saw alright, that's why he looked down and almost crossed his legs in order to get the stamp in at the face!
If you're supposedly regaining your balance, you widen the stance of your feet, not narrow it! You REALLY need to wake up and smell what you're shovelling.

As for the Aussies it's now blatantly clear that they have their Antipodean friends in their pocket, not to mention the IRB. Furthermore, in regards to Nigel Hampton it's now obvious that QC stands for Quick Cover-up.
That is a frankly shocking and disgraceful summary of what occurred.
One thing is for sure, the Lions fans will remind Horwill of his actions every time he touches the ball in the next Test.

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EatMyRugbyShorts June 24, 2013 2:44 am

Sorry ChillDoubt - looked at it again, paused the clip at 11 seconds and my opinion is still that Horwill can't see where's he's putting his feet. Not 100% certain of course but enough to agree with the citing outcome.

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ChillDoubt June 24, 2013 3:50 am

So if he's off balance, why did he lessen the distance in his stance instead of increasing it.? He knew his foot would be in close proximity to someone at the bottom of a ruck so why not move his foot to the right, steady his balance and avoid contact with anyone?

You're clearly struggling with the video so I'd suggest you take a look at the sponsor on Chris Pollock's shirt, it'll prove very helpful to you.

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DrG June 24, 2013 8:19 pm


I am sorry but you'll find that unless you post a purely sensational outraged comment, you'll never make any friends.

To post a comment such as your disgraceful one, which involved using your brain, a bit of impartiality and taking into account that none of us were in the driving seat of Horwill's mind at the time is just ridiculous fence sitting and down right terrifying to anyone with one eye!

If you want respect on here you need to pick a side and throw out a comment like "lets hang Horwill by his neck from the rugby posts until he stops dancing the jig of death".

Honestly though, I have found myself questioning his movements as they do look unnatural if they are indeed someone steadying themselves, however it did cross my mind that there may be a body between his line of sight and AWJ's face... As you said, lets hope everyone recovers so we can all get on with some damn rugby instead of this politics!

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GetFletch June 24, 2013 2:47 am

Guys - this is a travesty of justice and the judicial officer Nigel Hampton QC should be ashamed of himself.

The IRB should learn the lessons from American Football in the late 70s - early 80s. The NFL realised that their money making franchise was being damaged by arbitrary decisions being made by individual referees having too much power to interpret the rules / laws of the sport. The fans became frustrated and moms stopped letting "little Jonny" take up the sport because it was played by thugs. The NFL Commissioner tightened-up the laws of the sport, put more refs on the pitch, endorsed television reviews and shamed thugs out of the game.

There is no point venting your frustration on this forum, we have got to act to remove the "old farts" out of the IRB. They are not worth custodians of the game. Rugby needs to be modernised. Cut & paste your comments and email the IRB now!

Huguenot House
35-38 St Stephen's Green
Dublin 2

Tel: 00 353 1 240 9200
Fax: 00 353 1 240 9201

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Mince June 24, 2013 5:58 am

You are surely joking, North would have still pushed him if one of his own players was standing behind him. I suggest you stop watching rugby and maybe choose chess or something to pass the time in future.

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Welshandproud June 24, 2013 5:58 am

This is a absolute disgrace! Absolutely disgusting! I am glad Australia lost the game and I hope they continue to lose! A very biased ref and now dodgey officials! Its as bad as it gets!

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Mastersa June 24, 2013 10:56 am

Kangaroo court! (forgive the pund)
Again the difference is shown between NH and SH rugby in rules interpretation and citing decisions.
RFU need to align both for the good of the game. That would have been a hefty ban in the North all day long and I'm not just saying because Im from the NH. The evidence support it.

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Moo June 24, 2013 1:47 pm

Please could someone explain to me why when a player makes 'reckless' contact with the face/eyes of an opposing player with their hand, it is an automatic ban. But when the player makes contact with their boot, it is not?

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JR June 24, 2013 2:20 pm

Misleading headline "James Horwill cleared after alleged stamp on Alun-Wyn Jones in first Test" Surely that should read "After a definite stamp to A W-J's face James Horwill was cleared by a committee allegedly responsible for discipline"

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Green and gold June 24, 2013 3:49 pm

Look at the position of Horwill's head when his foot comes down. How could he see where his foot was going to land? The Lions and a lot of their fans are such insufferable whingers, with such an air of entitlement. When they came to South Africa 4 years ago, they were so unpleasant I couldn't wait for them to leave, and in John Smit's autobiography he mentions that he has no pleasant memories of that tour because of the Lions' attitude. Even though I'm South African, I'm supporting the Aussies 100% in this series, and really hope they can pull off a win next week (followed no doubt by whingeing and excuses by Gatland and co.).

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DrG June 24, 2013 8:21 pm

Actually I checked the criteria, you don't have to be a Lions fan to whinge bitch and moan. But by the same token you don't have to whinge, bitch and moan TO be a Lions fan.

Either way, the decision was made and we should all as rugby players and fans alike, put our balls back in place and look forward!

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browner July 02, 2013 11:12 am

As will you, when your son receives a face stamp & is blinded for life.....! go & watch cage fighting, you disgust me.

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Kiwi in Germany June 24, 2013 6:07 pm

I would be in the minority here. But I believe as a few have commented that Horwill had no way to know that his foot was going to glance a players face. His explanation is also plausible. I think whilst the action appears weird this does not constitute malice. When off balance and under external forces it is not unusual to be wrong footed. Furthermore slow motion shots never do these things justice. When seen in real time it looks a lot less awkward. I believe we have to eradicate malicious fouls from the sport. However it is a contact sport. Accidents will happen where there is no one at fault but circumstance. Whilst we must protect players from petty attacks we must also protect players careers from reactionary decisions. I believe justice was done in this case.

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kiwi eater June 27, 2013 12:31 pm


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Kiwi In Germany June 27, 2013 4:22 pm

I think you meant to comment on the South Africa vs Samoa match video with that one mate.

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Foxy June 24, 2013 6:16 pm

Not guilty????? WTF. He may as well have just said he is our captain and we would very much like him to play please

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ChillDoubt June 24, 2013 7:42 pm

Whilst we must protect players from petty attacks we must also protect players careers from reactionary decisions. Kiwi in Germany
The sort of attack that, an inch or two either way could have been career-ending you mean? The IRB are supposed to protect players careers by ending this sort of skullduggery and pure violence with proper sanctions and bans.
Take a look around the world media, from fans to pundits to ex players, 90% agree that Horwill has got away with one, pure and simple.
Dress it up any way you like, the worldwide rugby community knows there has been a grave injustice here.
Were the tables reversed I've no doubt AWJ would have been put in the stockade in chains!

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DrG June 24, 2013 8:26 pm

And the sensationalism continues.....

One inch more and AWJ could have died, 2-3 foot south and AWJ could have been rendered a eunuch, 6 foot to the right and Horwill would have done the splits and probably would have dislocated his leg...

Maybe I missed the memo that we all as rugby fans need our testes removed.

If AWJ (the man that was the victim of whatever this was!) has such an grievance against Horwill then can't we all just wait until they next face each other????

Incident happened, decision (perhaps dubious) made, learn to live with it, I'm sure AWJ will... and as stated, it's hardly the travesty of the rugby century is it!

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Maroons June 25, 2013 3:37 am

I'm Australian and a Queenslander- that was a stomp, clear as day- should of got punished. Legal team did a great job. He got off. Harden up, Get over it, I'm sure Jonesy has. Can't wait for Game 2.

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Canadian content June 26, 2013 12:03 am

Luckily the IRB doesn't conduct criminal proceedings, no one would get convicted as long as they had an explanation for their blatantly illegal behaviour!

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Jimbo June 26, 2013 7:17 am

Followed all above with interest. This was a despicable act - the only person who knows for sure whether it was deliberate is Horwill, and he is bound to claim it was. Doesn't matter - what is important is the act not the intention, responsibility of player to avoid stamping on someone's face.

The decision was SO predictable (as well as shameful and disgraceful). Richard Hill 2001, BOD in New Zealand 2005 to name but 2. Aussies determined to win at all costs which is why we HAVE to beat the b*******.

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Gloucester fan June 26, 2013 9:19 am

It was an obvious stamp as he put his leg in the wrong direction to get natural balance. He did not get hit back by any Player so this is reckless play at the least! If a lion was in this position he would certainly get a lengthy ban!

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Impartial June 27, 2013 12:35 am

No experienced player tries to drive forwards by putting their foot in some kind of cross legged ballet position. Ridiculous ruling and clearly one very lucky player. Should have been several weeks out. Could have blinded Wynn Jones.

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RugbyCoachNic June 27, 2013 10:32 am

Let the players take care of it, the officials at the match didn't have the balls to do anything, nor the disciplinary commissioner. All the Lions players know what he tried to do, first payback will be beat the Wallabies second it should become a bit old school. That happens Horwill will never step out of line again, what he was doing crossed the line that has always existed in rugby, stay away from the head. He deserves whatever he gets this weekend.

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HeadStamped June 27, 2013 11:29 am

Shameful and as much as devil's advocate is played, I can not see how he can not be honest and hold his hands up to it. As a captain, his behaviour should be a beacon not a steaming pile of manure

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PropIdol June 27, 2013 11:30 am

Obviously a few of you Aussies on here have been stamped on in a similar fashion because you're SO one-eyed !!!!

Only a fool would suggest it's not deliberate. And trying to dilute the situation but introducing other events in this match and others is a futile waste of time.

He did wrong, admit it and move on.

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big bad pazza June 27, 2013 12:29 pm

the aussie had the ball so what's the problem, totally different to a stamp on the face

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PropIdol June 27, 2013 1:31 pm

Pazza, are you on drugs?

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DrG June 27, 2013 2:24 pm

I'm really looking forward to Mk2 of sensationalism after this week.

No doubt if found guilty Horwill will now get an extra knee jerk ban for getting away with it the first time... I predict a 50 year ban... why not he blatantly tried to murder AWJ didn't he?

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browner July 02, 2013 11:06 am

Hang you head in shame DrG for supporting face stamping.

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Robert Lyons June 27, 2013 3:03 pm

What a terrible decision from the QC , anybody who played the game knows this was a deliberate stamp to the face and a cheap shot! I showed the clip to 8 ex-players and all laughed at the decision to let him off!!!

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guest June 30, 2013 3:53 pm

Absolutely no way he could see where he was landing his foot. Take off the biased blinkers and see he didn't know where the player was.

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browner July 02, 2013 11:04 am

OMG ..... cleared twice ! Have any of the QC's ever played this sport ...... Politics stinks , dirty player - he'll get his comeuppance !

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Stew July 06, 2013 6:03 pm

Looks like he did, together with the rest of the team, in the end.

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