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Tuesday Jul 2, 2013

Wallaby skipper James Horwill cleared and free to play in deciding Lions Test

Wallaby skipper James Horwill cleared and free to play in deciding Lions Test
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Wallaby skipper James Horwill has been cleared after an appeal from the IRB against the decision that found that he did not intentionally stamp on Lions lock Alun-Wyn Jones. Horwill has said that he feels vindicated following the lengthy legal process.

Horwill was originally exonerated by judicial officer Nigel Hampton after being cited for stamping in the opening 23-21 loss to the Lions in Brisbane. Despite a lengthy hearing and up to nine different camera angles being used to reach the not guilty verdict, the IRB appealed the decision.

Yesterday another hearing took place, this time with Independent Appeal Officer Graeme Mew.

He noted that for the IRB appeal to succeed he would have had to establish that there was a misapprehension of law by Hampton, or a manifestly unreasonable decision.

“There was sufficient evidence upon which a reasonable judicial officer could have reached the decision that was made,” Mew said. “Accordingly, it could not be said that (he) was manifestly wrong or that the interests of justice otherwise required his decision be overturned.”

Mew also stated the IRB appeal had been properly taken as part of its responsibilities to protect the image of the game and ensure player welfare.

Horwill will be free to play in the deciding third Test, and said he feels vindicated by the result.

“It’s huge. I love what I do and it means a hell of a lot to me to represent my country and not only to represent it but to lead it in what is arguably the biggest game in this country since the Rugby World Cup final in 2003,” the 37 times capped Wallaby said.

“I’m excited at that opportunity and now we can focus on the game, which is important. I feel very vindicated by the way it’s gone.

The Wallabies host the Lions in the final Test in Sydney on Saturday at 20:00 (10:00 GMT)

The guys at RugbyHQ in Australia, never shy to stir things up with Lions fans, had a #JusticeForHorwill hashtag running on Twitter before the verdict was announced. It fueled the ‘banter’, some of which was even directed Rugbydump’s way for some reason, so here is their follow up, with Sean Maloney reading one of the lovely tweets we received.

14 Comments

  • kadova
    10:28 PM 06/07/2013

    What happened with that french player is this happened straight after the only-6-weeks ban for the same ofence by a foreign player (South Africa?) so they decided to "make an example". If you see what i mean.

    Reply
  • eatmyrugbyshorts
    11:49 PM 05/07/2013

    Watched the game - wasn't highlighted at the time. Got to agree with the above - what was Farrell doing? Paul O'Connell has just dived on the ball so why is Farrell walking through players lying on the ground nowhere near the ball? Surely that's worth a citing. Additionally agreed - if any RD staff are reading would be good to have this vid as a separate post. Also must mention that Adam Jones is incorrectly accused in the commentary.

    Reply
  • drg
    1:30 PM 03/07/2013

    Bloody hell!!!! I'm with Totes on this one. Never heard anything about this. Thanks for bringing this to light, hopefully RD might make a video out of it. I've never been a fan of Farrell, seems dirtier than he lets on, whether this was actually intentional or not is another matter, but it was certainly reckless!

    Reply
  • drg
    1:26 PM 03/07/2013

    Interesting... although mates of mine that are Lions fans don't really care about this incident... it happened, looked dubious, decision was made and thats where it should have been left. Bringing it back up with the appeal, the comments made by "fans" on here etc, are all so damn overboard it's tiresome. Was Horwill not getting banned the biggest rugby travesty in history? Nope, but BOD being omitted was! lol...

    Reply
  • drg
    1:23 PM 03/07/2013

    Yes, I agree with the zzzzzzzz your comments do get a bit stale and boring when it comes to these types of incidents...

    Reply
  • totesmcgoates
    10:26 AM 03/07/2013

    Didn't hear about that one. Google wasn't forthcoming with any info either. It really puts this incident into perspective.

    Reply
  • browner
    11:16 PM 02/07/2013

    zzzzzzzzzzzzz Every player who now stamps on the face of another will plead the Horwill defence, I didn't know his head was there, & I was unbalanced by something ......... prove these statements wrong ! I wonder how many seriously injured players will look back on this 'landmark' case & curse !!

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    10:03 PM 02/07/2013

    Disagreed with the initial decision, it was certainly reckless enough IMO to warrant a ban, but the decision was at least coherently spelled out. The IRB decision to appeal it however was completely absurd. The incident happens, the Citing Officer does his job, the Judicial Officer does his, and surely the IRB at this point should back the process, not interfere with it. They should replace COs and JOs who are no good at their job, but they should at least support the process they have in place. What they have done here through instigating the appeal themselves is further undermine a process that few people have faith in already. It really makes no sense.

    Reply
  • 8:42 PM 02/07/2013

    You can, irrelevant of the position of the head he stamped on it's the responsibility of the person in control of the feet to ensure they don't stand on it. It's much the same with lifting somebody when you tackle them, irrelevant of whether you meant for their feet to leave the ground it's the responsibility of the tackler to ensure they land safely.

    Reply
  • eatmyrugbyshorts
    6:58 PM 02/07/2013

    That appeal document seems to contain something for everyone - supporting whatever view they had prior to the appeal. After reading both documents my take is that the contact of Horwill's boot with Wynn Jones's face could be defined as intentional, reckless or accidental. In the initial hearing the Judicial Officer considered whether an intentional act of foul play (stamping) had occurred - and based on the video evidence he decided that it hadn't. In the appeal hearing the IRB Officer concluded there were no grounds to overturn the original outcome but Horwill (or a player in a similar position) should have been aware of where Wynn Jones was on the ground even if he was unsighted, hence his actions were reckless. Looking at the video again does Horwill know where Wynn Jones is positioned? Should he have known? Would the citing decision have been different if it were for 'Reckless Use of the Boot'? Anyone's guess really - the whole incident only lasts 3-4 seconds. To me it still doesn't look 'intentional' but I now can't decide if the contact is 'reckless' or 'accidental'. Wynn Jones goes to ground after Horwill's got his head down pushing in the ruck so I'd be inclined to say its closer to accidental than reckless but its open to opinion. I suppose due to the wide publicity players will be more careful from now on placing their feet which was probably the whole point of the IRB appeal in the first place as this incident could have resulted in a serious eye injury. Changing the subject - bring on the decider!!

    Reply
  • benny
    5:22 PM 02/07/2013

    Even better than a panel, what about a jury of his peers? Oh and we could get a different celebrity each week on as the judge (do you think Mr T is available?), film it, and make it into a reality show so we have something rugby-related to watch during the week. Sorry, not a very useful contribution, I got a bit carried away :)

    Reply
  • ruggernut
    4:16 PM 02/07/2013

    Seems to me that if the IRB appealed the decision, then there was clearly something wrong what with them being the rule makers and all. But ah well, nothing we can do and no point dwelling. Plus I like Horwill as a player and doubt there was any malice in it. Let's just bring on the third test and hope tis a cracker!

    Reply
  • guy
    3:48 PM 02/07/2013

    From a neutral perspective I keep finding is strange that 'making contact with the eye or eye-area' aka 'eye-gouging' is deemed severly punishable whereas making contact to the same area with the boot is not. Well, I guess justice has been done. It will be a cracker of a game next weekend.

    Reply
  • ollie
    1:33 PM 02/07/2013

    This is not a good message to send out. Raises an interesting question as to how intent does not count in the ruling on spear tackles (for example) but apparently is everything when it comes to standing on heads... Both can result in serious injury, so what is the difference...?

    Reply


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Wallaby skipper James Horwill cleared and free to play in deciding Lions Test | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos