Australia captain 'vindicated' ahead of Lions decider
Australia captain James Horwill available to face British & Irish Lions in third test
Australia captain James Horwill has been cleared to face the British & Irish Lions in the decisive third test this Saturday.
The 28-year-old lock was given the green light once again this morning down under, as an International Rugby Board appeal was dismissed.
Horwill was initially cleared over an act of foul play 24 hours after the first test at Suncorp Stadium, with the forward standing on the head of Alun-Wyn Jones in the third minute of the 23-21 defeat for the Wallabies.
The IRB decided to appeal that decision on Thursday, but judicial officer Graeme Mew decided there was not a major error in the initial hearing, and the ‘not guilty’ verdict could not be overturned.
The decision was understandably met with delight by Horwill, who was forced to wait 13-and-a-half hours following the hearing before he found out he’d be able to line-up at the ANZ Stadium in Sydney this weekend.
"I'm very relieved. The two hearings have been very fair. I found out about 10am (1am BST)," Horwill told a packed press conference.
"I was confident because I know what happened and I'm glad the right result was made in the end. I love what I do and it means a hell of a lot to me to lead my country in what is probably the biggest game since the World Cup final in 2003.
"I'm very excited by the opportunity and now we can focus on the game, which is what's important. I feel very vindicated by the ruling. Other than not getting much sleep, it hasn't caused any disruption. I've just gone on with it, that's the reality of what we do."
Whilst Horwill should start for Australia, his counterpart Sam Warburton will not be so lucky, with a hamstring injury forcing the Welshman out of the Lions side.
Irish centre Brian O’Driscoll is expected to lead Warren Gatland’s side in the absence of the number seven.