Lions 2013: Australia captain James Horwill cleared of stamping

 

Australia captain James Horwill has been cleared to play in the second Test against the Lions after a charge of trampling or stamping was not upheld.

The incident took place in the third minute of the opening Test in Brisbane on Saturday, which the Lions won 23-21.

Horwill was cited after his boot came into contact with Alun Wyn Jones' head as the Lions lock lay on the floor.

But judicial officer Nigel Hampton QC decided he could not be certain of an intentional act of stamping.

"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, he was acting recklessly," Hampton said.

Horwill factfile

  • Born: 29 May 1985
  • Position: Lock
  • Height: 6ft 6in
  • International record: Has scored six tries in 35 appearances for Australia

"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.

"In an endeavour 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.

"Due to these reasons I cannot uphold the citing."

Ospreys second rower Jones was able to carry on playing after the incident, though head coach Warren Gatland later said the Welshman needed "a couple of stitches in his eye" after the game.

Horwill is now free to play in the second Test at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne on Saturday night.

The 28-year-old made his debut for Australia against Fiji in 2007,  and has since gone on to win 35 caps. He was making his first international appearance for 18 months against the Lions after 10 months out injured with a hamstring problem.