The BBC has today posted an article asking if New Zealand Rugby is in crisis? The BBC asserts that “these are dark times for New Zealand’s national sport, that has become mired in scandal”. This will be news to rugby fans in New Zealand, which is to say most of the nation.
The immediate spur for this article is presumably the recent release of video footage showing the starting All Black scrum half, Aaron Smith, entering a toilet cubicle with a woman who was not his partner.
They back this up by citing three other possible indiscretions:
- Members of a Super Rugby club, The Chiefs, were accused of sexually assaulting a woman at a club function.
- A teenager with the Wellington Lions was accused of assaulting four people.
- A former All Black, Dan Carter, is accused of failing a drugs test.
In none of these three cases has anyone been found guilty. The first two are history now, and Dan Carter denies the charge and will defend himself at a forthcoming hearing.
The BBC went on to say that it ” has asked New Zealand Rugby (NZR) how it maintains discipline and ensures that players remain role models”, noting sniffily that “NZR has yet to fully respond to our inquiry”. I very much doubt if NZR have any intention of indulging journalism as desperate as this.
Maybe there will be lots more of this leading up to The British & Irish Lions tour here next year, and through to the next World Cup. Because, just now, there is no sign of anything on the field of play that is going to upset this imperious All Blacks squad.
Or, maybe it was just a [very] slow news day in the UK.