Rugby Union


IRB to contest James Horwill stamping verdict

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Rugby's world governing body, the IRB, have declared that they will contest the decision to clear Australia captain James Horwill of wrongdoing during the first Lions Test last weekend. 

Horwill was initially cited for stamping during the early stages of his side's 23-21 defeat in Brisbane on Saturday. 

Replays showed him bring his right boot down onto the head of British and Irish Lions lock Alun Wyn Jones, who was lying at the bottom of a ruck and later required stitches above his eye. 

But the action was deemed to be accidental by judicial officer Nigel Hampton QC, and Horwill was cleared of the charges made against him.

The International Rugby Board have since said in a statement that an appeal will be launched, with player welfare at the heart of the decision. 

However, the appeal will not take place until after the second test between Australia and the Lions, leaving Horwill free to play in Melbourne. 

Aussie head coach Robbie Deans, who was part of the initial disciplinary process, which cleared the 28-year-old of misconduct, is expected to name his team in the next 24 hours.

"I have had a lot of experience of these processes," Deans said to reporters. 

"I was part of this one and privy to that, but I can't discuss it publicly.

"We were satisfied with the process, we felt it was just and fair. As a result, James is available this week."

Horwill has 35 caps for Australia, having made his international debut against Fiji in 2007. The game against the Lions was his first in 18 months following a long-term hamstring injury.    

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James Horwill
British & Irish Lions
Rugby Union
Australia Rugby

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