Horwill cleared for 2nd test vs Lions
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Australia captain James Horwill was cleared Sunday of allegations of stamping or trampling on British and Irish Lions lock Alun-Wyn Jones, freeing him to play in the second test in Melbourne on Saturday.
Horwill was cited by Lions management for the alleged incident in the third minute of the first test, won 23-21 by the tourists in Brisbane on Saturday, and appeared at a judicial hearing in Melbourne that lasted almost four hours.
“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,” judicial officer Nigel Hampton said.
Jones needed stitches after the incident.
“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 said.
“In an endeavor 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.”
The decision will be a huge relief to the Wallabies, who have a lengthy injury list ahead of their must-win second test.