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Aussies start #JusticeforHorwill campaign as Wallaby captain awaits fate

The lock will not learn if he will miss the Third Test with the Lions until Tuesday morning [Australian time].

James Horwill celebrates Australia's win with James O'Connor (l)
James Horwill celebrates Australia's win with James O'Connor (l)
Image: AP Photo/Rick Rycroft

AUSTRALIA CAPTAIN JAMES HORWILL will not learn his playing fate ahead of the Third Test with the Lions until the early hours of Tuesday morning [Australian time].

Lions supporters who have not travelled Down Under to follow the team should get news through about the ban around 10pm tonight. The IRB appeal was adjourned today after three hours of evidence and legal argument. Canadian arbitrator Graeme Mews will now consider his findings before getting back to the IRB with his decision.

In the interim, Australian news outlet Fox Sports, and news.com.au, have kicked off a #JusticeForHorwill campaign with a mock candlelight vigil set up beside a picture of the wallaby captain with a halo over his head:

The campaigners proclaimed, “Has the IRB not heard of double-jeopardy?

Many good films and television programs have been written on the very basis that you cannot be tried for the same crime twice. But neither common law nor Hollywood can dissuade the IRB from their mission to rub Horwill out of Saturday’s deciding Test match against the British and Irish Lions.”

Horwill and Wallabies coach Robbie Deans left the hearing, held over a video link with Mew in Toronto, to retire for the night at their Sydney team hotel. The pair were expected to appear at a media conference early Tuesday after the appeal decision is handed down.

Horwill was exonerated by New Zealand judicial officer Nigel Hampton on 23 June after being cited for stamping on rival Lions lock Alun Wyn Jones in the first Test in Brisbane, which the Lions won 23-21.

Lions medical staff work on Alun Wyn Jones after he was stamped on the face by Horwill. (©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

The ARU voiced its disapproval at the lodging of the appeal — the first the IRB has launched against a player who was cleared by one of its judicial officers — and has fought with a legal team for their captain’s availability.

The Lions have already lost their own captain for Saturday’s showdown after flanker Sam Warburton was ruled out with a hamstring injury.

– Additional reporting © AFP, 2013

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Patrick McCarry

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