London - New Zealand hooker Andrew Hore is
set to miss Saturday's international against England at Twickenham after
receiving a five-week ban on Wednesday for striking Wales lock Bradley
Hore's suspension will run until February 24 next year to
ensure he misses three pre-season Super Rugby warm-up matches for the
Davies was taken to hospital after he was hit from
behind by Hore inside the opening minute of world champions New
Zealand's 33-10 win over Wales at the Millennium Stadium last Saturday.
VIDEO: Hore attack on DaviesInternational
Rugby Board (IRB) judicial officer Professor Lorne Crerar of Scotland,
ruled Hore's swinging arm was "inherently dangerous" but accepted the
All Black hooker had not "intended" to make contact with Davies's
Crerar was initially minded to give Hore an eight-week ban
for a 'top-end' offence of this type, but reduced the suspension to five
weeks when taking into account such mitigating factors as the New
Zealander's daily contact with Davies since the incident.
Given Hore is about to enter the close season, Crerar considered when the ban should end.
statement issued by the Six Nations Committee, which oversees
disciplinary matters for the IRB during the European autumn series, said
Crerar had received "unreserved assurances" from All Blacks assistant
coach Ian Foster, Hore and his legal representatives that missing three
pre-season matches would have "significant and meaningful consequences"
for the player.
With veteran hooker Keven Mealamu currently
struggling with a calf injury, New Zealand coach Steve Hansen may have
to give Dane Coles a first Test start when he names his team to play
England on Thursday.
Hore's hit, not seen by South African referee
Craig Joubert or his touch judges, left Davies with concussion that has
ruled the Wales second row out of their European autumn series finale
against Australia this weekend.
Wales assistant coach Rob Howley
labelled the punch an "absolute disgrace," with the former Test
scrumhalf insisting: "What Hore did has got no place on a rugby field
as far as I am concerned."
Even the New Zealand rugby media, who
along with the All Blacks themselves have long believed the side is
often harshly treated by European disciplinary tribunals, wasted little
time in condemning Hore's action.
Veteran rugby commentator Keith
Quinn told Radio New Zealand listeners Hore had been guilty of a
"boneheaded act" while the New Zealand Herald's Gregor Paul said:
"Andrew Hore's act of stupidity will have confirmed in every Northern
Hemisphere mind the long-held notion of the All Blacks as perennial
New Zealand will arrive at Twickenham on a 20-match unbeaten run, having won their last nine Tests against England.
HAVE YOUR SAY: Are you happy with the five-week suspension Hore received. Or is he lucky to have escaped a longer ban? Send your thoughts to Sport24.