Hore's suspension both fair and deserved

DUNCAN JOHNSTONE
Last updated 10:04 29/11/2012
Andrew Hore
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ
THE RIGHT THING: Andrew Hore receive a five game suspension.

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OPINION: All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore received a fair and deserved punishment for his king-hit of Welsh lock Bradley Davies.

Hore operated outside the rules of fair play during the win over Wales in Cardiff last week.

He was sentenced within the rules of foul play today and the matter should rest there.

But it won't.

There will be many who question how a vicious act carried out in a full international can be penalised by a player missing Super Rugby warmup games as is the case with Hore.

He's out of Sunday's test with England at Twickenham, misses the three warmups with the Highlanders as well as their official season-opener next year.

Justice? Certainly, when you think he still has to live with this hanging over him for 14 weeks until he can play a game of rugby again.

Let any complaints rest with the International Rugby Board whose rulings mean penalties for transgressions cross all boundaries in terms of a game of rugby being a game of rugby, whether it's for club, province or country. It's all a question of timing. 

That's the way it is and critics of Hore's actions and consequences simply have to accept that, rather than continue to punish the player or the All Blacks through continued public condemnation.

Arguably the most pleasing evidence to emerge from Hore's lengthy judicial hearing in Bristol was his remorse that included revelations that he had been in contact with Davies and continued to do so, expressing his sorrow.

Hore has blemished his record with this act, something he clearly regrets. Given that he's been in the front row battles and bottom of countless rucks for more than 300 first class games, it's a mark of his character that this was his first appearance in front of the judiciary.

That earned him a deserved three-game reduction when this horrendous case was heard.

Of course, Hore is no stranger to controversy.

He's tarnished with his off-field shocker involving shooting a seal in 2005 and that has sullied him ever since.

This transgression will likely be a lingering memory too, given that it has come so late in his career.

The 34-year-old Hore is a throwback to the old days (good or bad, however you look at it) when the All Blacks pack was built around men of the land.

Hore is a farmer. He's a hunter. He's also a hard man.

But he's also an honest man. Just as he did with the seals, he knows he's crossed the line on the field this time and he's admitted that.

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The fact the All Blacks have remained so silent on the matter in terms of an apology is a little more bemusing.

They have hidden behind the well-worn line that there was a process in place and that had to wait for that to unfold, in terms of a judiciary.

But they were immediately resigned to the fact that Hore was going for the high jump. You didn't need top be a QC or a former High Court judge to come to that conclusion. You only had to look once at the replay screen.

An immediate "sorry" would still have gone a long way towards softening the barrage of criticism they have had to endure in Britain and further afield this week.

- Stuff

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