Hore - not ideal
OPINION: It's been called a deliberate swinging arm, but it only needs a one-word description - dumb.
Andrew Hore's indescriminate hit on Welsh lock Bradley Davies reflected poorly on himself, the All Blacks and the New Zealand rugby public.
Because it followed on from Adam Thomson's silly rake on Alasdair Strokosch's head, it has given some the opportunity to paint the All Blacks as a group of thugs.
That's not right. You can't play the sort of fast-tempo rugby that the All Blacks are bewildering the rest of the world with at the moment if you are spending much of your time trying to put in a bit of slipper.
The fact remains, however, that between Thomson and Hore, with another incident involving Tamati Ellison and what looked like a chicken-wing tackle thrown in for good measure, the All Blacks' desire to clear the back of the ruck has seen them go over the top at times.
As rugby fans, New Zealanders consider themselves to be above this sort of stuff.
We think of the French as dirty and the English as lumbering, and not for a second would we entertain the thought that our All Blacks could be the dirty party.
My initial reaction was that Davies must have done something to prompt Hore into what was a king-hit from behind, but it's hard to imagine what the Welshman could have done in the 60sec following the first whistle to prompt such ire.
Hore's indescretion will have an impact on the Highlanders.
The team's new captain wouldn't have played much of a role during the preseason anyway, but he will now miss the opening match against the Chiefs in Dunedin.
The Highlanders are hoping to sell out their first two games in Dunedin, against the Chiefs and Hurricanes, to set up some big crowds for later in the season.
While there will be plenty of hype about the franchise's offseason signings, the best way to insure bums on seats will be results - and to get them Jamie Joseph will want all of his All Blacks on deck.
The Southland Times