The punching by All Black hooker Andrew Hore of Welshman Bradley Davies has revived an unwanted reputation for thuggish behaviour among the World Cup champions.
Hore caught Davies with a blow from behind early in New Zealand's 33-10 Test victory over Wales in Cardiff at the weekend, and has been cited for striking.
Veteran New Zealand commentator Keith Quinn said Hore could expect a lengthy ban for the incident, which resulted in Davies being stretchered off the field and taken to hospital for precautionary examinations.
"Suddenly, just after the start of the game, there was this boneheaded act from Andrew Hore... I expect they'll throw the book at him," Quinn told Radio New Zealand.
Dominion Post rugby columnist Toby Robson said that with only one Test remaining in the All Blacks tour, against England on Saturday, Hore may as well pack his bags and return to New Zealand immediately.
"Whatever he was trying to achieve - let's give him the benefit of the doubt till his case is heard - the hooker must be handed a lengthy suspension," he wrote.
"It is an embarrassing situation for the New Zealand Rugby Union, with Chief Executive Steve Tew spending much of the past three weeks in Europe extolling the virtues of the All Blacks' brand."
The New Zealand Herald's Gregor Paul said: "Andrew Hore's act of stupidity will have confirmed in every Northern Hemisphere mind the long-held notion of the All Blacks as perennial thugs."
With Hore likely to be suspended for the England Test and Keven Mealamu also in doubt due to injury, the All Blacks have called in Hika Elliot as a reinforcement hooker to back up rookie Dane Coles.
Tom Taylor had also joined the squad, since star flyhalf Dan Carter is still under an injury cloud after an Achilles injury forced him out of the Wales Test.
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