• Banned Horwill won’t face Bulls

    James Horwill will miss the Reds' match against the Vodacom Bulls in Pretoria next Saturday after receiving a one-week ban for striking an opponent.

    Nicholas Davidson, the judicial officer, accepted a guilty plea from Horwill for contravening Law 10.4 (a) Punching or striking, and suspended him from all forms of the game for one week up to and including 11 April.

    The incident occurred in the 21st minute of the match between the Rebels and Reds in Melbourne, when the 29-year-old lock took a wild swing and struck Rebels prop Paul Alo-Emile on his neck.

    'I found the explanation that the arm was used to gain momentum at the breakdown was not tenable. There was no attempt to engage', said Davidson.

    'However, the strike was of no effect with no injury to the Rebels player. This was in summary, an ineffectual strike other than its impact on the game as Horwill was red-carded in the 21st minute. A submission that this was relevant to setting a lower entry point for sanction was rejected. There is an adverse effect on the game as a whole following a red card.

    'Horwill has attracted media attention in the disciplinary context but his actual transgressions are few despite over 100 Super Rugby games and 59 Test matches for Australia. He had one off-field yellow card – now citing commissioner warning – in 2013 and came before the Sanzar judiciary in 2015 for two yellow cards in the same match for technical breaches.

    'Nothing was added for aggravating factors and in mitigation, he is entitled to some allowance for his acceptance of the indicated sanction and his recognition that this was clearly unacceptable for which he apologised to the Rebels player and also during the hearing. In the circumstances, the two-week entry point is reduced to one week and Horwill is suspended up to and including Saturday, 11 April.'

    Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

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    Mariette Adams