22 Apr 2013

Savea remanded on bail to reappear next month

9:47 pm on 22 April 2013

All Black and anti-family violence campaigner Julian Savea has appeared in the Wellington District Court charged with assaulting his partner on 15 April.

A large contingent of journalists were in court for his appearance, but Judge Anthony Walsh refused applications to film and photograph proceedings. He remanded Mr Savea on bail to reappear in court in May.

At a news conference on Sunday, Savea apologised to his partner, child and employer for, in his words, "doing some things that are wrong".

"Whilst I can't go into the details because it is now before the courts, I understand the details will come out in due course. But I will say my partner and I we did have an argument, I did some things that are wrong and I shouldn't have done and I apologise for that."

Savea, 22, also apologised to his employers, the Hurricanes and the New Zealand Rugby Union.

Chief executive of Women's Refuge Heather Henare said while Julian Savea had the best of intentions when he took part in the It's not OK anti-family violence campaign, he should not now be involved.

The New Zealand Rugby Union has also been criticised for letting him play against the Western Force on Friday night, despite knowing four days earlier that he'd been charged.

Professor of sports psychology at Massey University, Gary Hermansson says the Rugby Union should be challenged on that decision.

At Sunday's news conference, Hurricanes chief executive James Te Puni and New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew confirmed they were made aware of Savea's charges on Monday and were happy for him to play for the Hurricanes against Western Force on Friday night.

They also said they would support the player throughout the court process.

Te Puni said he hoped Savea would report to Hurricanes' training on Monday following his court appearance.

In an earlier statement Te Puni said Savea was deeply upset to be in the position he was in as well as embarrassed and apologetic.

"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."

Tew said New Zealand Rugby would wait for the outcome of the court case before taking its own misconduct proceedings.

But he said he was concerned that another young rugby player had been involved in this type of incident.

The NZRU would be undergoing an independent assessment of the support given to players trying to cope with the pressures of professional sport.