14 Oct 2016

NZR to address culture

6:56 am on 14 October 2016

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) has confirmed there is to be independent review of its culture following a string of off-field incidents that have embarrassed the organisation.

06092016 Photo: Rebekah Parsons-King. Gordon Tietjens steps down as All Blacks Sevens coach.  Pictured: Steve Tew, NZ Rugby Chief Executive.

Steve Tew. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

The review will address the cultural issues rugby faces, particularly around its attitude to women.

"As outlined previously, New Zealand Rugby is setting up an independent review of respect and responsibility in our professional environment," NZR said in a statement.

NZR had started the process of creating an independent panel on the issue, but no members had been appointed yet, it said.

"The intention is for this review, once it has been established, to be thorough and transparent. We will provide the detail once it is finalised."

New Zealand Rugby has been hit by several off-field incidents recently, the first being the Chiefs mad Monday celebrations that involved a stripper named Scarlette who claimed she was abused and harassed by the players.

Those allegations were rejected by an NZR internal investigation, though it later conceded the investigation should of been run independently.

The incident raised questions about the behaviour of the Chiefs players, including All Blacks who were present, and rugby's attitude to women.

Promising player Losi Filipo then had his Wellington Lions contract terminated by mutual consent after a judge's decision to discharge him without conviction for assaulting four people, including two women, was publicly scrutinised and later appealed.

Last week, All Black halfback Aaron Smith was given a one match ban after being seen entering a disabled toilet at Christchurch Airport with a woman.

Yesterday the Southland Stags provincial rugby player, 23-year old Dylan Halaholo, was convicted for masturbating in public.