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British & Irish Lions
The global scope of the Horwill affair
Tom Hamilton in Sydney
July 2, 2013
A relieved James Horwill sits alongside Robbie Deans © Getty Images
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It was an alleged incident of foul play in Brisbane, the judicial hearing originally played out in Melbourne. The appeal came in from Dublin with a lawyer in Canada overseeing the proceedings with James Horwill giving his views in Sydney while the International Rugby Board's prosecutor gave its side of the story in Moscow.

'Idiotic Rugby Board' was the headline in Australia's Daily Telegraph. Horwill's second hearing, for an offence he was already acquitted back on June 23, started at 1930 AEST on Monday. He was cleared to play at 12.08 on Tuesday - he was in limbo for 998 minutes.

Graeme Mew eventually decided he could not find any reason to overturn the original decision allowing Horwill to face the Lions in the biggest game of his career on Saturday.

"No courtroom in the world would accept such a ludicrous process, but the IRB had no hesitation," was the Telegraph's take on the matter.

The whole circus has left a bitter taste in the mouth. The British & Irish Lions will feel wrongly done for the second time in nine days. The Wallabies will be frustrated their captain was up in front of the dock for a second time after it was deemed his stamp on Alun-Wyn Jones was accidental. Horwill was quick to downplay the hearing having any effect on their preparations for the third Test but it was all far from ideal.

 
What odds on Horwill plucking the final lineout on Saturday ala Justin Harrison from 2001 and winning the series for the Wallabies?
 

"Probably other than not getting much sleep, I've just gone on with it, that's the reality of what we do," Horwill said. "That's all I can focus on and other than a lack of sleep, that's the only disruption."

There will also be wider implications for the IRB's judicial process. Its decision to query Nigel Hampton QC's original verdict is deemed by some to be an action of undermining the New Zealander. But Mew, an individual with dual British and Canadian citizenship, also came out on the side of Hampton.

What is interesting is what happens now to the IRB and whether it appeals decisions in the future. Robbie Deans claimed he was in "no doubt they will review routinely what they do".

Whatever you say about this Lions tour, it has not been boring. What odds on Horwill plucking the final lineout on Saturday ala Justin Harrison from 2001 and winning the series for the Wallabies? They would deem it to be the perfect end to their bumpy ride but you feel there is plenty more yet to happen in this unique 2013 series.

"This is the end, the final whistle, there's no coming back," Wallabies coach Deans said. "Teams won't be conservative, they won't want to walk off and wonder what if."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Tom Hamilton is the Assistant Editor of ESPNscrum.
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Tom Hamilton was brought up near the stands of the Recreation Ground and joined ESPN in 2011. He is now Associate Editor of ESPNscrum.
Follow him on Twitter @tomESPNscrum