Horwill escapes ban to lead way for Australia

Australia captain James Horwill has been cleared to play the second Test against the British and Irish Lions after his citing for stamping was dismissed.

James Horwill

Horwill faced a disciplinary hearing in Melbourne yesterday for the incident involving lock Alun-Wyn Jones in the third minute of the Lions’ 23-21 victory at Suncorp Stadium.

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

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

James Horwill

The verdict of the disciplinary hearing, which took almost four hours, is sure to infuriate the Lions, who referred to the citing officer an incident that left Jones needing stitches.

“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,” continued Hampton.

Horwill, a combative second-row and no stranger to the sin-bin in the past, will lead the Wallabies when they attempt to level the series at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday.