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Wellington – The apparent punching by All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore of Welshman Bradley Davies has revived an unwanted reputation for thuggish behaviour among the world champions, New Zealand media said Monday.
Hore appeared to catch Davies with a blow from behind early in New Zealand's 33-10 Test victory over Wales in Cardiff on Saturday, and has been cited by the International Rugby Board (IRB) for striking.
Veteran New Zealand rugby commentator Keith Quinn said Hore could expect a lenthy ban for the incident, which resulted in Davies being stretchered off the field and taken to hospital for precautionary examinations.
“Suddenly, just after the start of the game, there was this boneheaded act from Andrew Hore... I expect they'll throw the book at him,” Quinn told Radio New Zealand.
Dominion Post rugby columnist Toby Robson said that with only one Test remaining in the All Blacks tour, against England on Saturday, Hore may as well pack his bags and return to New Zealand immediately.
“Whatever he was trying to achieve – let's give him the benefit of the doubt till his case is heard – the hooker must be handed a lengthy suspension,” he wrote.
“It is an embarrassing situation for the New Zealand Rugby Union, with chief executive Steve Tew spending much of the past three weeks in Europe extolling the virtues of the All Blacks' brand.”
The New Zealand Herald's Gregor Paul said: “Andrew Hore's act of stupidity will have confirmed in every Northern Hemisphere mind the long-held notion of the All Blacks as perennial thugs.”
With Hore likely to be suspended for the England Test and Keven Mealamu also in doubt due to injury, the All Blacks have reportedly called in Hika Elliot as a reinforcement hooker to back up rookie Dane Coles.
Reports said pivot Tom Taylor had also joined the squad, since star fly-half Dan Carter is still under an injury cloud after an Achilles injury forced him out of the Wales Test. – Sapa-AFP