New Zealand hooker Andrew Hore has been handed a five-week ban for striking Wales lock Bradley Davies during last weekend's Test in Cardiff and will miss Saturday's Test against England, Six Nations Rugby has confirmed.
Hore's king hit, which was not seen by referee Craig Joubert or his assistants, left Davies with concussion that has ruled him and out of Wales' final autumn Test against Australia.
With veteran All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu struggling with a calf injury, New Zealand coach Steve Hansen may have to award Dane Coles his first Test start.
A statement issued by Six Nations Rugby, which oversees the disciplinary process for the autumn Tests, read: "The judicial officer (Crerar) held that the act of foul play was inherently dangerous, being a deliberate swinging of the arm, delivered with significant force, causing serious injury to the victim player, Bradley Davies, who was unsighted.
"However, the judicial officer found that the player had not intended to make contact with the victim player's head.
"In categorising the seriousness of the offence the judicial officer held that it was worthy of a top end entry point under the IRB's sanctions table, and that the entry point should be eight weeks.
"The judicial officer held that there were no aggravating factors.
"The judicial officer acknowledged the mitigating factors of acceptance of guilt by the player, his genuine remorse, as evidenced by his daily contact with the injured player, his exemplary disciplinary record, and his conduct throughout the hearing and imposed a suspension of five weeks."
Hore told the New Zealand Herald: "I want to say how bad I feel and how embarrassed I am to be in this situation.
"I want to say how bad I feel and how embarrassed I am to be in this situation," - Andrew Hore.
"It is not the All Black way and I have let myself down and the team and probably the whole country is pretty proud of what we do.
"I hope Bradley Davies does recover and get back up and running and play in the Heineken Cup as soon as he can.
"I have been on the phone and talked to him on Sunday about the incident and obviously the All Black management and the leader group that I am a part of has been pretty stern on me for getting us into this situation and I have to take what I have got and go back and start building a reputation as a good, clean, hard footy player and hopefully I can do that in the next Super Rugby competition when I get back playing."