The Welsh rugby community has reacted with widespread condemnation to the five-week ban handed out to All Black Andrew Hore for his cynical forearm hit that left Wales' lock Bradley Davies in hospital last weekend.
The hooker faced a disciplinary hearing in Bristol today and had his eight-week ban reduced to five weeks for showing remorse by contacting Bradley on a daily basis, pleading guilty and his past record.
It means Highlander Hore will miss only two games of real significance - Sunday's test against England and the opening match of the Super Rugby season - because his franchise's three pre-season games are included in the suspension.
Wales Online journalist Gareth Griffiths said that the punishment handed out to Hore was as disgraceful as the incident itself, and that the International Rugby Board needs to re-examine the case.
"This disparity can't be right, in my view, and sends out a worrying message about the acceptable attitude rugby is taking towards on-the-field violence," Griffiths said.
"Here is a man who I believe should not grace the New Zealand jersey again. But he will be back on the field on February 24 with New Zealand players having December and January off.
"Another lenient disciplinary verdict for the All Blacks also adds fuel to the fire of the argument that there is one rule for New Zealand and another for the rest."
Davies revealed today that he suffered a three-day memory loss after the incident and said that he could not remember anything from the two days before the test, let alone the day of the game itself.
"I was actually only out cold for a couple of seconds on Saturday, but when I came to, I had lost all my short-term memory," Davies told Wales Online.
Davies said he holds no grudges against Hore, and can relate to making mistakes on the field after he received a seven-week ban last season for a 'stupid off -the-ball incident'.
"I am not sure how they branded the (Hore's) ban because I had a 14-week suspension that was halved to seven which I thought was harsh at the time."
The mood in the All Black camp in the aftermath of Hore's suspension was one of resigned acceptance and relief.
The All Blacks have been willing to accept the 34-year-old was attempting to hook Davies out of the way rather than deliberately strike him from behind.
The judicial officer noted that Hore made contact with an open hand and that his intention was to reach around Davies' shoulders and try to move him out of the way.
"Andrew has been suspended at the high level but he's accepted responsibility, he (has) more than 300 first-class games, he's been a leader and his character over that time period has been exemplary," said All Black assistant coach Ian Foster.
"This one incident he has accepted, he has fronted up for it and he has been punished."
Welsh rugby fans voiced their displeasure at the ruling in the comments section of Griffiths' article, and were upset by the length of the ban and the message it sends.
Missing pre-season games?? That is not meaningful punishment or relevant to the stage on which the incident occurred.
Punishment should have been relative to international rugby and to the prestige and honour of wearing the national teams shirt .
Well, well, yet again an All Black is treated as a naughty boy when his actions were deliberate and dangerous - what an absolute joke. Two games of note to be missed. Fair play that's a massive statement by the disciplinary panel.
The only body investigating this should be the Crown Prosecution Service. BD should make an official complaint to the Police. However due to a misplaced sense of camaraderie he won't. Especially when it's against an All Black and we have an ex AB as coach with ambitions to be the next AB coach. Conflict of interest methinks.
Well that is appalling, maybe the IRB need to appeal against this ban as well. How can the Judge believe a 6 ft man struck a 6ft 6in man in the head without intending it. You don't normally run around with your arms up in the air do you? I suppose he was trying to brush a wasp or fly aside... Jokers.
The only real punishment is a red card on the day - IRB need to address this problem asap with video evidence. He would have been off after 1 min and the Kiwis down to 14 men for 79 mins - that is the proper punishment.
Bradley Davies should contact the Police for assault, what a game for kids to look up to??? Yes you can take someone off the ball & possibly cause them brain damage & there is only a 5 week ban.