Andrew Hore was a taboo topic for the All Blacks today as footage emerged showing a possible motive for knocking out Welsh lock Bradley Davies.
The All Blacks put up the shutters on the issue ahead of Hore's date with the International Rugby Board judiciary on Thursday (NZT).
Assistant coach Ian Foster has the task of accompanying the 34-year-old test veteran to his hearing where one assumes the wide-angled BBC footage seen by the British rugby public, will be viewed.
In it, Davies is clearly shown running interference as Hore chases an Aaron Cruden high kick.
Hore reacts with the stiff arm to the side of Davies' head which resulted in his citing for striking.
It's unclear whether the footage will help or hinder the All Blacks case, one Foster was understandably in no mood to discuss ahead of time.
"Look, I'm probably going to get some questions on Andrew I would imagine," he said.
"What I would say to you is you know he's been cited, we have something on Wednesday and you know I can't say much about it.
"What I will say is our goal is to play a physical attractive rugby and I think we're doing that. Unfortunately something has happened and we'll deal with it in the appropriate channels. Full stop."
It was then put to him that Hore's likely suspension would leave a hole at hooker when the side was named to play England at Twickenham on Sunday (NZT).
"Well we don't know that," Foster replied. "We'll deal with that when and wherever that happens. We go through planning and all that sort of stuff, but we have something to go through and there is an unknown about it, so we'll wait and see."
An English journalist then asked if he agreed the Hore-Davies incident did "not look great" on the replays?
"Full stop is full stop," Foster said. "Our job is not to try on field stuff through the media before the actual process goes through."
The team's public line is Hore's judicial hearing will not affect the build up, but it is clearly having some effect early in the week.
Hooker Dane Coles' scheduled media appearance was changed at the last minute with senior statesman Conrad Smith taking his place and Hore is sure to hit the headlines again when the IRB's sentence is handed down.
The other pressing issue for the All Blacks this week are injuries with first five-eighth Dan Carter's Achilles and Keven Mealamu's calf putting both players in doubt.
Hika Elliot has joined the squad as cover.
But Foster revealed Carter had not been ruled out yet, despite the arrival today of fellow Cantabrian Tom Taylor, who was whisked off a Phuket beach.
"He's [Carter] looking pretty good but it's early in the week. We have a number of guys who are bruised and sore today so we are going to be taking it easy the next two days to see where everybody is at before we finalise things."
Foster said the key to ensuring mental fatigue did not creep into the camp as the last test of the year approached was to see it as an opportunity rather than an end.
"We'd love to finish this tour playing the type of rugby we have been playing and we'd like to play it for a little longer in an 80-minute game. We're determined to do that."
To see the aerial wide angle footage and hear a BBC discussion among former internationals on the incident, click here.
- Fairfax Media
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