Opinion: Hore's cheap shot a black mark on Hansen's 'clean team'
Opinion By Jim Kayes, at Millennium Stadium
All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore's hit on Wales’ lock Bradley Davies had all the hallmarks of a cheap shot. It was from behind and Davies didn't have the ball.
In a week when the All Blacks, and coach Steve Hansen in particular, have been quietly steaming at the "injustice" of the IRB's appeal against flanker Adam Thomson's one week suspension for stomping, Hore's hit is a terrible look.
Having wing Cory Jane sin binned (perhaps a bit harshly) for a deliberate knock on didn't improve the image.
Hore's hit will probably see further action from the judiciary, and the hooker could be the second All Black banned on this short European tour.
That would be hugely embarrassing for Hansen, who has preached long and hard about how the All Blacks are a tough but clean team. It will be intriguing to hear his thoughts on Hore's clubbing of Davies from behind. If he's struggling to find the right words, he should think about what he'd say if Hore's type of hit had been on All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw.
The pity about Hore's shot is that the aftermath will take the focus off an entertaining 33-10 win by the All Blacks against a Wales team that played with plenty of spirit, passion and skill right to the end - the try to wing Alex Cuthbert in the 76th minute evidence of that.
Hore's piece of thuggery, and any subsequent judicial issues, will be an unwanted distraction for Hansen in the lead up to the final test against England at Twickenham. It could also leave the All Blacks with a hooking crisis if Hore is banned and Keven Mealamu's calf doesn't improve.
Hore's hit forced Davies from the field at almost the same time prop Aaron Jarvis limped off - Wales losing two players before two minutes had gone.
If they were up against it before kick off, that didn't help. Losing midfielder Jamie Roberts in the 18th minute added to the misery - then the All Blacks kicked into gear.
To lead 23-0 by halftime against the Six Nations champions, on their patch, before a boisterous crowd of 72,372 isn't a bad effort, even if Wales were ravaged by injuries before kick off, and then soon after.
The try that flanker Liam Messam scored should be a late entry in the IRB's try of the year competition (though Wales' try from a near 15-man drive was pretty amazing too).
Messam's try began with fullback Israel Dagg in all sorts of trouble in his own 22 metre line, some how he escaped, winger Julian Savea surged down field and from the ruck the ball was swung wide to Messam ranging on the wing. It was a superb example of the All Blacks attacking mindset. A more positive attacking mindset than Hore's.
The only injury concern from the match was the sight of loosehead prop Tony Woodcock limping from the field in the 50th minute.