Was Hore provoked?

Tue, 27 Nov 2012 08:41
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Bradley has severe concussion and cannot play this weekend

The controversy surrounding All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore has taken a new twist with the suggestion that he was provoked into punching Bradley Davies.

Hore floored Welsh lock Davies with a stiff arm to the side of the head early on at the Millenium Stadium on Saturday, and although the incident was not picked up by the referee or his assistants the hooker has been cited and faces an IRB judiciary hearing on Wednesday.

The incident sparked a major reaction in the media, with Hore's actions roundly condemned for ruining the good reputation of the world champions.

However, it has emerged that the wide-angled footage from the BBC shows Davies deliberately obstructing Hore as the hooker was chasing a high kick from Aaron Cruden.

Whether the All Blacks choose to highlight this factor at the hearing remains to be seen, with assistant coach Ian Foster tight-lipped about the situation at a press conference on Monday.

"What I would say to you is you know he's been cited, we have something on Wednesday and you know I can't say much about it.

"What I will say is our goal is to play a physical attractive rugby and I think we're doing that. Unfortunately something has happened and we'll deal with it in the appropriate channels. Full stop," he said.

Wales assistant coach Rob Howley had no qualms about voicing his opinion on the matter, and labelled Hore's actions as an "absolute disgrace".

"What Hore did has got no place on a rugby field, as far as I am concerned," Howley said.

"It was an absolute disgrace. He has been cited, and I am sure it won't be taken too lightly. Situations and incidents like that have no place on the rugby field, and it had a huge impact on the game."

"You don't traditionally think the All Blacks want to do things like that. They are a good enough team not to so we were very surprised by the actions of the player.

"Bradley has severe concussion and cannot play this weekend. It was pretty obvious that something untoward had happened," he said.

With veteran Keven Mealamu battling a calf injury the All Blacks have called on Hika Elliot as cover, with Hore likely to face a lengthy suspension, whilst injury concerns still linger over star flyhalf Dan Carter's Achilles injury.