Planet Rugby

The British & Irish Lions


ARU hit out over IRB appeal

27th June 2013 12:43


SKY_MOBILE James Horwill - Australia 1st Lions Test

Centre of a storm: James Horwill

The Australian Rugby Union have criticised the International Rugby Board's decision to appeal the decision to find Wallaby skipper James Horwill not guilty of stamping.

The IRB announced on Thursday that they would be appealing the decision made by judicial officer Nigel Hampton QC to clear Horwill after he was cited for making contact with the face of Alun Wyn Jones during the first Test between Australia and the British and Irish Lions.

The appeal will be heard following Saturday's second Test and Horwill is free to play in the game in Melbourne but this has not eased the ARU's displeasure.

"This is an unprecedented step taken by the IRB in what is the most important rugby event staged in Australia since the 2003 Rugby World Cup," ARU chief executive Bill Pulver said in a statement.

"While we respect the right of the IRB to intervene, we also respect the knowledge and experience of appointed - and independent - judicial officers, and their expertise to consider evidence and reach sound findings," he said.

"James Horwill was cleared of the stamping charge as per the IRB's established judicial process.

"We are surprised and disappointed that the finding of Mr Hampton is now not only under question but deemed to be 'erroneous'.

"In the midst of an extraordinarily successful series that has been 12 years in the making, the re-hearing process has the potential to cause serious disruption to the Wallabies and the positive atmosphere surrounding the tour.

"The ARU in no way condones foul play. However, the process was followed according to IRB regulations and the decision of an independent judicial officer handed down. What has occurred subsequently is without precedent."