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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
news
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
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

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot