Chris Rattue 's Opinion

Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue: Hore shows All Blacks not above thuggery

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Wales might just have got the better of a 14-man side if justice had been served.

The game was marred in the first minute of play when All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore king hit Bradley Davies from behind. Photo / Skysport
The game was marred in the first minute of play when All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore king hit Bradley Davies from behind. Photo / Skysport

Andrew Hore just had to be red-carded in Cardiff, thus giving Wales a royal chance of beating the All Blacks for the first time in nearly 60 years.

Hore's vicious cheap shot, or make that shots, on the Welsh lock Bradley Davies marked a day of shame for the All Blacks and rugby in general. Rugby - on this year's evidence - has become incapable of dealing with its thugs.

New Zealand's often self-righteous rugby attitudes have faced tricky little tests on this tour, starting with Adam Thomson's scraping of a Scottish head and the resulting soft suspension, and now Hore's indefensible assault on Davies.

The All Blacks are just as capable as anyone else of committing foul deeds, as many of us knew anyway, and just as capable of getting a soft ride from the authorities.

There is little point to referees having a red card if it cannot be waved at players like Hore and the South African prop Dean Greyling, whose flying assault on Richie McCaw at Dunedin in September could have caused awful damage.

In the Hore-on-Davies case, the match officials had handy evidence that something was wrong in the form of the 2m tall Cardiff man lying prone on the ragged Millennium Stadium turf.

And yet somehow, the game cannot review what the world gets to see in at least triplicate.

Hore was heading towards a ruck and attacked Davies - who wasn't even close to the ball - from behind, swinging an arm to the side of his jaw and then landing both knees on the felled opponent, to the head and back, sending Davies to hospital in a daze.

Had, for instance, a Welshman attacked Richie McCaw in this way, our little rugby nation would be awash in outrage, have no fear about that.

While the silence out of the Sky television talk-fest box in condemning this act was as deafening as it was expected given their history of All Black-centric analysis, the impartial eye could only look on in horror. Men who can become incensed at the referee's faulty set square at ruck entry time were as stony silent as poleaxed Davies.

Justin Marshall was perhaps on the verge of saying what everyone else was thinking but couldn't get the words out. The rest found the situation beyond their skill sets.

There is no excuse or explanation for what Hore did, and the All Blacks management are best advised to condemn Hore with an honesty to match that of the Welsh captain Sam Warburton, who admitted to the obvious - after seeing big screen replays - that he deserved to be sent off for a tip tackle in a World Cup semifinal last year.

Hore must go for a lengthy skate, even given that rugby's judicial processes are to justice what Wall St is to world humanity. The injustice to Wales was magnified as the blow was delivered in the first minute, reducing their squad by one for virtually the entirety while the All Blacks retained 15 on the field. What a sham.

In this day and age, 14 All Blacks versus 15 Welshmen would represent an even contest, and the sight of Hore leaving in disgrace so early would surely have lifted the crowd and the team towards a famous victory.

Wales certainly deserved the chance, and while the All Blacks were often impressive and way the better, the madman Hore turned this into an ill-deserved triumph.

The All Blacks' orchestrated brilliance allied to an almost relentless composure is breathtaking to watch, but they left a hollow feeling this time.
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- NZ Herald

Chris Rattue

Chris Rattue is a sports columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Chris Rattue writes about a wide range of sports for the New Zealand Herald. He has covered numerous sporting events for the Herald including Rugby World Cups and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

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