Wales says All Black punch 'an absolute disgrace'

Cardiff: Wales has labelled New Zealand hooker Andrew Hore's alleged attack on Welsh lock Bradley Davies an "absolute disgrace".

Wales attack coach Rob Howley said the apparent punch, which occurred less than a minute into the test against New Zealand on Saturday, had no place in rugby, but concurred with his head coach Warren Gatland's assessment that it was out of character for the All Blacks.

"What Hore did has got no place on a rugby field as far as I'm concerned, it was an absolute disgrace," he said. "He's been cited and I'm sure the citing commissioner won't take it too lightly."

As Wales starts preparations for their final autumn test against Australia, the punch to the side of Davies's head last weekend, which put him in hospital for a night with severe concussion, continued to attract attention.

Howley spent much of his time in front of Welsh journalists – and a few from Australia – dissecting the matter on Monday, resisting calls for Hore to face criminal charges and keeping his comments firm but measured.

"I have seen and read comments about [the possibility of going to police], it happened on a rugby field and no, we haven't [gone]," he said.

Hore will face the citing commissioner over the incident, while Howley ruled out Davies from playing against Australia on Saturday.

The incident came two weeks after New Zealand flanker Adam Thomson was suspended for stamping on the head of Scotland's Alasdair Strokosch during his team's 51-22 win at Edinburgh.

The International Rugby Board has indicated it will appeal the length of that ban as "unduly lenient".

Howley backed Gatland's comments in the aftermath of the New Zealand match that the punch, administered from behind while Davies was off the ball, was uncharacteristic of the All Blacks.

"That's not what [they] do anyway. As Warren said after the game, you don't traditionally think the All Blacks want to do that – they're a good enough team anyway, one of the best teams in the world, so we were very, very surprised by the actions of the player," he said.

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