13 Jan 2017

Chiefs players meet with wardens after verbal abuse

4:27 pm on 13 January 2017

Chiefs rugby players involved in a verbal attack on two Hamilton parking wardens have apologised to the women in person.

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Photo: PhotoSport

The incident happened after the players received parking fines after a training session on Wednesday near Steele Park, said head coach Dave Rennie.

Mr Rennie said although some players vented their frustration about getting parking tickets, their inappropriate comments were not directed at the wardens.

But Hamilton City Council acting chief executive Kelvyn Eglinton said that was not what he had heard.

"Their version of events is that it wasn't directed at the wardens, we would suggest that that is perhaps not correct. But they have wholeheartedly apologised, and they are going to work with us and come in and actually meet the wardens themselves and offer an apology."

A council spokesperson later confirmed Chiefs managers and players met with the two women about lunchtime to extend an apology for the remarks.

Mr Eglinton said earlier he was happy with the club's work to find out what happened.

He said he spoke with the two women yesterday and commended their dignity and professionalism while being subjected to verbal abuse on the job.

He said there was no excuse for abuse of the council's staff, by anyone, at any time.

Victim advocate Louise Nicholas, who has been working with New Zealand Rugby on player behaviour, said the actions of the players were disappointing.

"In a situation like that, where there is a lot of cussing and the abusive nature of this incident, we don't want to hear that, and there is no need for it. Especially for the women who were in the firing line for it."

The team came under fire last year after two strippers came forward, accusing players of indecently touching them during end-of-season celebrations.

No action was taken against the players.

Last September, the team vowed to help educate players and the rugby community, alongside Ms Nicholas.

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