British and Irish Lions Tour 2013: Australia captain James Horwill relieved at chance to play in third Test - International - Rugby Union - The Independent

British and Irish Lions Tour 2013: Australia captain James Horwill relieved at chance to play in third Test

 

Australia captain James Horwill watched the Tour de France during a sleepless night spent agonising over whether he would be permitted to lead the Wallabies in Saturday's series decider against the British and Irish Lions.

Horwill felt "vindicated" when the International Rugby Board's appeal against a disciplinary hearing's decision to clear him of foul play for stamping on Wales lock Alun-Wyn Jones in the first Test was not upheld.

Independent appeal officer Graeme Mew found that only a major error during the original hearing would warrant the judgement being overturned and stressed there was sufficient evidence to reach the 'not guilty' verdict.

With the series tied 1-1 ahead of Saturday's showdown at Sydney's ANZ Stadium, Horwill's availability has lifted Australian spirits at a time when the Lions are mourning the loss of their captain Sam Warburton to a hamstring injury.

A relieved Horwill beamed his way through a press conference rescheduled due to the time taken by Mew to reach his verdict, but the preceding hours has been tortuous for 28-year-old lock.

"I tossed and turned during the night. I watched the Tour de France, which had a good finish, then a bit of other TV. I tried to sleep but it was difficult," he said.

"Maybe I got one or two hours sleep. It's ok though - it's Tuesday, we have four days and I know I'll be sleeping well tonight.

"It was difficult, you want clarity either way and the unknown was the worst part.

"I felt for the team too. We need to be able to prepare for this game and to do that properly we needed clarity. We can now get on with it.

"You just have to trust the process, trust that the right outcome would come in the end and that's what we did.

"The IRB were entitled to take the process they did, but I believe the right decision has been made.

"I know what happened, it was completely accidental and there was never any malice at all."

The availability of Horwill - a player viewed as Australia's emotional heartbeat - continues a seismic shift in fortunes that threatens the Lions' hopes of a first series triumph for 16 years.

Fresh from their 16-15 victory in the second Test that has set-up the Sydney decider, the Wallabies will be able to field their skipper while the tourists must replace theirs.

Warburton was outstanding at the Etihad Stadium, but his torn left hamstring means either Sean O'Brien or Justin Tipuric will start at openside with Brian O'Driscoll the likely captain when the team is announced tomorrow.

"I feel disappointed for Sam. It's never nice for any player to get injured, not least ahead of such a game as this. It's something you wouldn't wish on any player," Horwill said.

"But I've said all along that these two teams are very evenly matched. It's been two points, then one point and a kick at the death in both games that could have swung it the other way. Nobody has known the result until the 81st minute."

Australia coach Robbie Deans outlined the influence that Horwill has on the Wallabies and after an epic first Test and nerve-wracking if error-strewn second, he expects the decider to also prove impossibly tense.

"James is a very forthright man, a man of high integrity and his ethics are good," Deans said

"His work ethic is huge, he will play himself until he can't play anymore and from a players' perspective, that's what you want alongside you.

"I've no doubt there will be surprises at the weekend. This is the end, the final whistle, there's no coming back.

"Teams won't be conservative, they won't want to walk off and wonder what if."

PA

News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week