Disgraced All Black hooker Andrew Hore received to what amounted to no more than a slap on the wrist for his unprovoked attack on a Welsh player.
The 34-year-old Hore appeared before IRB appointed judicial officer Lorne Crerar (Scotland) on Wednesday, having been cited for striking an opponent in the match between Wales and New Zealand in Cardiff last Saturday.
Meanwhile Australia’s second row resources have been further thinned out with the news that lock Sitaleki Timani will miss this weekend’s international against Wales.
Timani was handed a one-match ban punching an opponent in the Wallabies’ 22-19 win over Italy last Saturday.
Davies was knocked unconscious in the attack from behind and required hospital treatment.
FIVE WEEKS FOR HORE
Hore, with 74 caps to his credit, was handed a five-week ban, but will effectively miss one Test and a number of pre-season Super Rugby matches.
In his finding Crerar even gave the All Black No.2 a discount for his good conduct at the hearing, despite admitting the attack was unprovoked and at the high end of the IRB’s scale of offences.
“The judicial officer held that the act of foul play was inherently dangerous, being a deliberate swinging of the arm, delivered with significant force, causing serious injury to the victim, Bradley Davies, who was unsighted,” a statement said.
“However, the judicial officer found that the player had not intended to make contact with the victim’s head.”
In categorising the seriousness of the offence the judicial officer held that it was worthy of a ‘top end’ entry point under the IRB’s sanctions table, and that the entry point should be eight weeks.
The judicial officer held that there were no aggravating factors.
“The judicial officer acknowledged the mitigating factors – acceptance of guilt by the player, his genuine remorse, as evidenced by his daily contact with the injured player, his exemplary disciplinary record, and his conduct throughout the hearing,” the statement said.
Crerar imposed a suspension of five weeks.
The judicial officer heard submissions in detail as to when the suspension should end, given that the player was entering the close season.
Crerar said he received “unreserved assurances” from Ian Foster, the All Black assistant coach, the player and his legal representative that the pre-season matches to be played by the Highlanders during the weekends of February 1, 8 and 15 all had “significant and meaningful consequences” for the player in accordance with IRB Regulation 17.
Hore is accordingly suspended up to and including Sunday, February 24.
It means he will miss New Zealand’s final year-end Test against England this coming Saturday, three pre-season matches and the Highlanders’ opening match of the 2013 season – against the defending champion Chiefs in Dunedin on February 22.
Hore has the right of appeal.