Steve Hansen has admitted New Zealand are embarrassed by Andrew Hore's assault on Bradley Davies and understands the disapproval around the nature of his ban.
Hore was suspended for five weeks on Wednesday for striking Davies from behind in an attack that left the Wales second row with concussion. Crucially, however, the Highlanders hooker will only miss two competitive matches - the first against England on Saturday - with provincial pre-season games accounting for the other three.
The International Rugby Board's judicial officer has been criticised for the decision and Hansen sympathises with the objections. The All Blacks coach said: "You don't want to see that in the game. Andrew was embarrassed, we were embarrassed. Our thoughts were with Bradley Davies."
He added: "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 forearm and will miss Saturday's clash with Australia as a result. Wales coach Rob Howley branded the 34-year-old "an absolute disgrace" and Hansen also condemned an incident that he insisted was out of character.
"We don't want to see that in the game and although we love Andrew, we didn't love what he did," Hansen said. "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."
- Sports & Recreation
- Bradley Davies
- Andrew Hore
- Steve Hansen