New Zealand

Another All Black in court for violence

Sun, 21 Apr 2013 08:22
Julian-savea_-james-te-puni Julian-savea James-te-puni-_-steve-tew
My partner and I had an argument
Quote-end

All Black Julian Savea, who featured in New Zealand's "It's Not OK" campaign against family violence, admitted Sunday he has been charged with assault following a domestic incident.

His arrest has again put the spotlight on the off-field behaviour of prominent All Blacks and forced the New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) to review whether there is sufficient support available for players.

"My partner and I had an argument. I did some things that are wrong, that I shouldn't have done, and I apologise for that," a tearful Savea, reading from a prepared statement, told a press conference.

"To my partner and family, I want to say I'm sorry... I know what I did was wrong, and I'm taking steps to make sure this will never happen again."

The NZRU was disappointed and concerned "that this is another incident involving a young player", said chief executive Steve Tew.

"We need to find out whether we are doing enough to help these young men cope with the pressures of the professional game.

"As a result of these various incidents, we will be undertaking an independent assessment of the support we provide players from their time of induction into the professional game," Tew added.

Nicknamed "The Bus", the 22-year-old Savea, a blockbusting wing who scored three tries in his debut Test against Ireland last year, will appear in court on Monday.

James Te Puni, the Chief Executive of Savea's Hurricanes Super Rugby side, said the charge related to a domestic incident a week ago.

"I have spoken with Julian who is deeply upset to be in this position and now needs to deal with the situation," he said.

Te Puni said Savea had appeared on posters last year as part of a national campaign against family violence.

"Given that, Julian is embarrassed and apologetic he now finds himself in this situation," Te Puni said.

Although there has been no suggestion alcohol was a factor, it has been a central part of incidents involving other past and present All Blacks in recent years.

Earlier this year, Zac Guildford, who has a well-publicised history of alcohol-related problems, underwent a treatment programme at a private clinic after becoming involved in a brawl.

The NZRU head of professional rugby, Neil Sorensen, admitted then that not enough had been done to help Guildford after his previous fall from grace when he ran naked into a bar and allegedly punched two men in 2011.

Jimmy Cowan, Sione Lauaki and Jarrad Hoeata are other All Blacks who have been in trouble because of drinking while Jerome Kaino, Dane Coles and Rene Ranger are reported to have completed alcohol counselling.

The New Zealand Herald reported last month that since 2008, 25 high-level players have sought professional help for alcohol and drug issues.

The NZRU and Hurricanes statement: Hurricanes and All Blacks wing Julian Savea has been charged with common assault and will appear in the Wellington District Court tomorrow [Monday], the Hurricanes and New Zealand Rugby confirmed today [Sunday] [Sunday].

Hurricanes CEO James Te Puni said today [Sunday] that the charge related to a domestic incident last Sunday.

"Obviously, we are disappointed to have this situation emerge, but we must now let the judicial process run its course.

"The key thing for us is to support the families as they work through what is a very difficult time.

"I have spoken with Julian who is deeply upset to be in this position and now needs to deal with the situation," he added.

New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew said: "We were very disappointed to learn of this incident and Julian's subsequent charge. We appreciate this is a distressing time for all those affected and we are also helping support the family.

"As his employer, we want to ensure that our process regarding misconduct proceedings also respects his right to a fair hearing in court, so we will await the conclusion of the court process.

"Without judging the rights or wrongs of this case, we are concerned that this is another incident involving a young player.

"We need to find out whether we are doing enough to help these young men cope with the pressures of the professional game.

"As a result of these various incidents, we will be undertaking an independent assessment of the support we provide players from their time of induction into the professional game."

Te Puni said Savea had also appeared on posters last year as part of the "It's Not OK campaign" against family violence.

"Given that, Julian is embarrassed and apologetic he now finds himself in this situation," Te Puni said.

AFP & rugby365

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