ALL Blacks head coach Steve Hansen says he can understand the furore that has surrounded the five-match ban handed out to hooker Andrew Hore for striking Wales second row Bradley Davies.
Hore will only miss two competitive matches — tomorrow's tour finale against England at Twickenham and the opening round of the Super Rugby tournament — as a result of his attack on Davies with the ban also covering three pre-season friendlies with the Highlanders.
The decision of the disciplinary panel has been roundly criticised within the game and Hansen has admitted the world champions and Hore have been embarrassed by the incident.
"You don't want to see that in the game. Andrew was embarrassed, we were embarrassed. Our thoughts were with Bradley Davies," said Hansen.
"I understand the issue with pre-season games being included and can see that being quite frustrating, but that's the rules the IRB set and we live within those rules.
"Although we might say they're only pre-season games, (Highlanders coach) Jamie Joseph might not say the same thing.
"Do we agree with it? Probably not, but it's there."
Davies was knocked out by Hore's swinging arm and has since revealed that he has had a three-day memory loss as a result.
The Blues second row has also said he doesn't hold any personal grudge against Hore.
"We don't want to see that in the game and although we love Andrew, we didn't love what he did," Hansen added.
"The intent was to do something else, but he got it drastically wrong.
"As a result of that he hit the man on the chin and knocked him out.
"Andrew has played 300 first-class games and not made that mistake before so clearly he's not a dirty player.
"But in this instance he's made a poor decision and has paid for it.
"Our group has a zero-tolerance approach to foul play, we're not a dirty side.
"For me it's about taking responsibility, whether it's an accident or not, and we've done that in this case.
"We hope people will accept that and I know Bradley Davies has from his conversations with Andrew.
"Andrew's already said he let us down. If it's one of your own children at some stage you've got to learn to forgive.
"He's been given the message by us and the IRB and now we've forgiven him."