Wednesday 18 October 2017

Sparks set to fly as IrB decision to appeal Horwill not guilty verdict stuns Aussies

THE International Rugby Board have set themselves on a collision with the Australian Rugby Union after declaring their intention to appeal James Horwill's disciplinary decision, WRITES CONOR GEORGE.

Australia captain Horwill (below) was cited for an alleged stamp on Lions lock Alun-Wyn Jones during the first half of the first Test in Brisbane last Saturday.

The judicial officer Nigel Hampton determined that, on the balance of probabilities, there was no act of foul play, but the IRB are set to revisit the issue and have indicated their intention to appeal the disciplinary decision.

That decision has prompted a response of incredulity from the ARU.

"This is an unprecedented step taken by the IRB," said ARU CEO Bill Pulver.

"James Horwill was cleared of the stamping charge as per the IRB's established judicial process. We are surprised and disappointed that the finding of Mr Hampton is now not only under question but deemed to be 'erroneous'."

The Lions, who initially referred the incident to the citing commissoner, would not be drawn into commenting on the incident.

The new hearing will take place next week; Horwill is clear to play in this weekend's second Test but could potentially miss the third.

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