Belfast Telegraph

Monday 21 April 2014

Horwill available for second Test

James Horwill, pictured, faced a disciplinary hearing for an incident involving lock Alun-Wyn Jones

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.

Horwill faced a disciplinary hearing in Melbourne 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).

"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.

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

"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."

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.