Tuesday 17 October 2017

Horwill denies attempt to harm Alun Wyn Jones as stamping controversy rumbles on

Australia's James Horwill
Australia's James Horwill

Duncan Bech

Australia captain James Horwill today offered a robust defence during extensive questioning over the stamp that could yet see him suspended for the third Test against the British and Irish Lions.

The decision by a disciplinary hearing to clear Horwill of an incident that left Alun-Wyn Jones requiring several stitches has been appealed by the International Rugby Board.

The appeal will be heard on a day next week yet to be confirmed and Horwill could be banned for the a match that will be the series decider if the Wallabies win the second Test at the Etihad Stadium tomorrow.

Replays show the 28-year-old lock bring his right boot down onto the head of Jones, who was lying at the bottom of a ruck.

Horwill insisted the camera angle was deceiving and that alternative views from some of the other eight angles presented in the four-hour disciplinary hearing clarified his lack of intent.

"I didn't know anything about any incident until I was told the next morning so I had no idea about anything that happened during the game," he said.

"When I was cited I had no idea what it was for until I was shown the incident. It was a completely accidental act.

"There was no intent nor malice. I had no idea Alun was anywhere near my feet. That's what I'm sticking by.

"I've played 130 professional rugby games and have never been cited once, never attending any judicial hearing.

"I had no intent and it was a complete accident and unfortunately accidents happen in rugby. It's a contact sport.

"The other camera angles show that I was completely unaware of what was going on.

"Anything can be slowed down to make it look different. If you look at it from a number of angles you can see what happened."

It is only the second time the IRB has appealed the outcome of disciplinary proceedings and the Australian Rugby Union responded by issuing a strongly-worded statement condemning the move.

Horwill is confident that the appeal process will ensure he is dealt with fairly.

"I got a very fair hearing the first time and I expect to have the same the second time around," he said.

"I've been focusing on tomorrow's game and once it's finished we'll take a better look at it. We've got a legal team in place who are going through it at the moment."

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