Lewis 'Mad Dog' Moody is not happy with the Horwill decision. Sky Sports screengrab
mad dog

Former Lions star Moody labels James Horwill stamping decision 'a farce'

“It’s water under the bridge now,” said tour manager Andy Irvine. “Move on.”

LEWIS MOODY WAS in New Zealand in 2005 to experience the furore, and local backlash, surrounding Tana Umaga and Keavan Mealamu when they were accused of spear-tackling Brian O’Driscoll into the turf.

The Kiwi duo were questionably cleared of any wrongdoing, the Lions were lambasted and told they were on tour to play rugby ‘not ping pong’, and the home team drew strength from the controversy. Eight years on and, if the Second Test victory for Australia is anything to go by, it is happening again for the Lions.

James Horwill has been cleared to play in the series deciding Third Test this Saturday and Australia have united behind their captain under perceived storm clouds of inside dealings at the IRB and bias against the home team. Moody told Sky Sports News that the situation has descended into farce.

“It doesn’t surprise me,” he said, “because they always seem to get away with that sort of stuff over here. I’ve been on tour to South Africa, New Zealand, Australia [with England] and especially when I’ve done it with the Lions, it just seems to be the trend.” Moody added:

I don’t think the IRB actually had the power to overturn or overrule it. They were just looking into the official and whether he had made the right decisions so they couldn’t chance the decision. It was all a bit of a farce.”

Australian legend Stephen Larkham said the Horwill decision was ‘very surprising’ as he was expecting a ban once the IRB chose to follow up on the issue. “It’s a massive boost for Australia rugby. His leadership and want he contributes around the paddock, we just don’t have that in our second string,” Larkham added.

For the second time in a week, Horwill faced the media to express his relief at his name being cleared [again] and thanked the arbitrator, Graeme Mews of Canada, for a fair hearing. He said, “My family and the team have been overwhelmed by the amount of support. It’s now time to get on with the football.”

Meanwhile, tour manager Andy Irvine once again insisted the Lions had nothing to do with Horwill being called up before a officials to explain himself over the stamp. He commented, “Personally, just personally, it didn’t look very clever. The ball wasn’t close to [Jones] but I’ve seen a hell of a lot worse in my time.”

Irvine added, “You can’t slap his wrist. He’s either guilty or he’s innocent. With these things, if you asked 100 people you’d probably get a 50/50 or 60/40 split… it was always going to be marginal but it’s water under the bridge; move on.”

The water may be under the bridge but the Wallabies are determined to ride the wave of injustice to the bitter, and hopefully victorious, end.

Wallabies captain James Horwill cleared of stamping charge

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