Wales coach Warren Gatland hopes Andrew Hore's swinging arm in the All Blacks 33-10 win in Cardiff this morning (NZ time) wasn't a "cheap shot".
Less than two minutes after kickoff at Millennium Stadium, Hore's stiff arm blindsided Welsh lock Bradley Davies and made solid connection with his jaw.
Davies left the field after being knocked out cold and has gone to hospital for further concussion assessment.
"From the initial look at the video, Bradley's been hit from behind and he's gone down. Whether it's a swinging arm... you don't usually associate the All Blacks as a side that resorts to cheap shots. I hope that's not the case. I hope it's just an accident.
"Bradley has gone down in a heap. The unfortunate thing for us is they're going to admit him to hospital. He's a bit like 10-second Bob at the moment. He doesn't quite know where he's at. Fingers crossed he recovers but he was a big loss for us, particularly early on.
"That's something the citing commissioner can have a look at."
Somehow, Hore escaped on field punishment as the ugly off-the-ball incident was missed by South African referee Craig Joubert and his assistants Jerome Garces and Greg Garner but, with next week's test at Twickenham the final of the year, the All Blacks hooker now faces a season-ending ban.
"Neither Craig or his touch judge saw the incident," Wales captain Sam Warburton bemoaned. "That's why I asked and that's what they replied with. They claimed they didn't see it."
Video evidence is damming and while he was coy about the footage All Blacks coach Steve Hansen agreed Hore would be cited.
"Probably," Hansen said.
Assistant coach Ian Foster would need to accompany another player to a judicial hearing, just as he did with Adam Thomson last week.
"He's [Ian Foster] got another big Wednesday coming up I'd suggest," Hansen added.
"I saw a quick replay of it. It looked like he was going in to cleanout the Welshman in front of him. It looked like he went to get him out of the way and clearly something has happened during that. It's unfortunate that it's happened. No doubt there will be more to be talked about."
Hore's certain suspension has wide-spread ramifications.
Keven Mealamu sat out today's test with a calf injury and even though he is expected to recover for the match against England, Hansen hinted he would need to call-up New Zealand Maori rake Hika Elliot, who was boarding a flight back home today.
"Hope so," Hansen said of Mealamu being available for selection this week. "We'll have to have a good think about it over the next 24 hours and get somebody on stand by."
Hore's thuggish act also opened the door for Dane Coles to play in his fourth successive test. The Hurricanes hooker has impressed on his debut tour and could be thrown into a starting role, if Mealamu cannot recover.
Hansen was pleased with the All Blacks third straight win over their northern rivals but acknowledged they took their foot off the throat after being ahead 23-0 at half-time.
"It was pretty clinical for the first 60 minutes. We did most things really well. We took our opportunities when they came. The last 15 to 20 [minutes] we may have lost our way a little bit," he said.
"We kicked too much ball away. We were trying to play some smart rugby while we had a guy [Cory Jane] in the bin but at the same time it gave Wales a lot of opportunities to come back at us."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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