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Sunday Jun 23, 2013

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

James Horwill cleared after alleged stamp on Alun-Wyn Jones in first Test
67
Comments

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 27-06-13The 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

Warren Gatland on the James Horwill stamp on Alun-Wyn Jones

Time: 0:25
Credit: rugbymedia

67 Comments

  • browner
    12:12 PM 02/07/2013

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

    Reply
  • browner
    12:06 PM 02/07/2013

    Hang you head in shame DrG for supporting face stamping.

    Reply
  • browner
    12:04 PM 02/07/2013

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

    Reply
  • eatmyrugbyshorts
    7:51 PM 27/06/2013

    The Citing Decision pdf is now on the IRB website:http://www.irb.com/mm/document/tournament/home/02/06/80/23/horwill-decision.pdf

    Reply
  • kiwiingermany
    5:22 PM 27/06/2013

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

    Reply
  • drg
    3:24 PM 27/06/2013

    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?

    Reply
  • rugbycoachnic
    11:32 AM 27/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • 1:03 AM 26/06/2013

    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!

    Reply
  • reality
    12:57 AM 25/06/2013

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

    Reply
  • drg
    9:26 PM 24/06/2013

    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!

    Reply
  • drg
    9:21 PM 24/06/2013

    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!

    Reply
  • drg
    9:19 PM 24/06/2013

    @Eatmyrugbyshorts. 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!

    Reply
  • drg
    9:11 PM 24/06/2013

    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...

    Reply
  • chilldoubt
    8:42 PM 24/06/2013

    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!

    Reply
  • 8:38 PM 24/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • 8:21 PM 24/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • mastersa
    11:56 AM 24/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • chilldoubt
    4:50 AM 24/06/2013

    EatMyRugbyShorts 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.

    Reply
  • eatmyrugbyshorts
    3:44 AM 24/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • chilldoubt
    3:23 AM 24/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • eatmyrugbyshorts
    3:03 AM 24/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • bigwol
    1:11 AM 24/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • jog1986
    12:25 AM 24/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • benny
    12:00 AM 24/06/2013

    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

    Reply
  • murph
    11:59 PM 23/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • reality
    11:54 PM 23/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • murph
    11:52 PM 23/06/2013

    No. He was found not guilty. End of.

    Reply
  • murph
    11:52 PM 23/06/2013

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

    Reply
  • murph
    11:48 PM 23/06/2013

    whinge whine moan piss

    Reply
  • reality
    11:46 PM 23/06/2013

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

    Reply
  • murph
    11:42 PM 23/06/2013

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

    Reply
  • murph
    11:39 PM 23/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • drg
    11:18 PM 23/06/2013

    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"..

    Reply
  • buddha
    10:27 PM 23/06/2013

    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!

    Reply
  • bm999
    10:21 PM 23/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • matt
    10:19 PM 23/06/2013

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

    Reply
  • jimmybfg
    10:10 PM 23/06/2013

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

    Reply
  • misterdavid
    9:06 PM 23/06/2013

    "George North deliberately pushed Israel Folau" ... who had the ball in his hands.

    Reply
  • reality
    8:44 PM 23/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • mattyj
    7:29 PM 23/06/2013

    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?

    Reply
  • mattyj
    7:20 PM 23/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • drg
    7:06 PM 23/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • 6:48 PM 23/06/2013

    WTF

    Reply
  • matt
    6:27 PM 23/06/2013

    Burger's eye gouge?

    Reply
  • matt
    6:15 PM 23/06/2013

    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

    Reply
  • 5:16 PM 23/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • andyloughranvet
    5:08 PM 23/06/2013

    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

    Reply
  • mrjmmlc
    5:01 PM 23/06/2013

    this is f***ing ridculous!!!

    Reply
  • musoyama
    4:58 PM 23/06/2013

    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...?

    Reply
  • jog1986
    4:57 PM 23/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • drg
    4:51 PM 23/06/2013

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

    Reply
  • browner
    4:43 PM 23/06/2013

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

    Reply
  • drg
    4:33 PM 23/06/2013

    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...

    Reply
  • browner
    4:33 PM 23/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • browner
    4:20 PM 23/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • drg
    4:18 PM 23/06/2013

    Not that it should make any difference, but no OBVIOUS mitigating factors... Agree with your statement though..

    Reply
  • mrjmmlc
    3:51 PM 23/06/2013

    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

    Reply
  • brawnybalboa
    2:34 PM 23/06/2013

    "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?

    Reply
  • spicksandspecks
    2:24 PM 23/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • coal_face
    1:55 PM 23/06/2013

    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!

    Reply
  • misterdavid
    1:48 PM 23/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • mattyj
    1:44 PM 23/06/2013

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

    Reply
  • drg
    1:30 PM 23/06/2013

    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..

    Reply
  • briggsy
    1:29 PM 23/06/2013

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

    Reply
  • barebear
    1:26 PM 23/06/2013

    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.

    Reply
  • brawnybalboa
    1:25 PM 23/06/2013

    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!

    Reply
  • miler
    1:23 PM 23/06/2013

    Doesn't look good in slow mo ...

    Reply


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James Horwill cleared after alleged stamp on Alun-Wyn Jones in first Test | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos