Jonathan Davies of Wales spills the ball under the
challenge of Andrew Hore whose act of stupidity has deneted
the All Blacks' image. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty
It is not the All Black way to leave their own to hang
out to dry, an attitude for which Andrew Hore should be
His act of stupidity - his needless and unfathomably crass
stiff arm administered to the unsuspecting Bradley Davies -
will have confirmed in every Northern Hemisphere mind the
long held notion of the All Blacks as perennial thugs.
The Adam Thomson saga was trying for the All Blacks: not just
for the futility and frustration of the drawn-out process but
because there was depth to the sub-plot that the All Blacks
are viewed as villains in this part of the world.
When the All Blacks come to Europe they can't escape their
past: historical atrocities have been committed and the Brits
have incredibly long memories and an insatiable capacity for
The media outrage in the aftermath of the Thomson incident
and the consequent wrath expressed at the supposed lenient
judicial finding was testament to the prevailing perception -
that the All Blacks, for all their colossal talent, still
like to work as much with the bludgeon as they do the rapier.
In fighting as hard as they did for justice, the All Blacks
were making the point that it was not only correct in that
individual case, but that they have shed their inglorious
past and are not the unsmiling, jackboot wearing lugs they
once were or were at least seen to be.
If any mileage was made in the changing impressions of the
All Blacks during the Thomson case, then Hore has dragged
them back. In one daft moment he has vindicated the Brits;
provided clarity and substance to their vision of the All
Blacks as thugs and bullies.
No doubt the Welsh, who managed to whip themselves into an
ugly frenzy three years ago over a supremely tame high tackle
by Daniel Carter, will find reason to compare Hore's blow
with the one administered by John Ashworth on JPR Williams at
Bridgend. The Andy Haden lineout nonsense of 1978 will be
trotted out in support of denigrating the All Blacks and
portraying them in a most unflattering light.
The English, too, will find ways to keep the pot boiling and
the maddening thing for the All Blacks will be that Hore is
essentially now in an indefensible position, which is why All
Black coach Steve Hansen used the standard "need to have
another look" in the immediate aftermath of the game while he
"To be honest, all we have seen is the one replay of it and
he looks like he is going in to clean out the Welshman in
front of him," said All Black coach Steve Hansen. "He looked
like he went to get him out of the way and clearly something
has happened during that.
"Until I see it properly I can't really say ... but it is
unfortunate it has happened."
But he knows the book is going to be hurled and that Hore
will have to stand and take it. All they can hope for is
leniency in the sentence rather than exoneration but they can
all but kiss goodbye to that as after the Thomson case, the
IRB will be hyper conscious of handing down a sentence they
will feel is indisputably tough.
Wales coach Warren Gatland said it didn't look the best in
"You don't usually associate the All Blacks as a side that
resorts to cheap shots. I hope that's not the case. I hope
it's just an accident."
•Canterbury's Tom Taylor has been called into the All Blacks
as cover for their final test of the year against England on
New Zealand Maori hooker Hika Elliot has also been called
into the squad as coach Steve Hansen prepares for a Hore
- Gregor Paul, Herald on Sunday