12 Jan 2017

Chiefs apologise for parking warden incident

8:22 pm on 12 January 2017

The Chiefs rugby team is again at the centre of allegations of inappropriate behaviour - this time involving players hurling abuse at women parking-wardens.

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Photo: PhotoSport

In a statement, the team's head coach, Dave Rennie, said there was an incident during training yesterday at a Hamilton park when some of the players were given parking tickets.

He said it was not until Hamilton City Council staff said anything that they learnt some players had made inappropriate comments.

Mr Rennie said those involved were spoken to today, and they said the comments were not directed at the wardens and apologised for any distress caused.

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.

Earlier allegations

The first stripper, who only wanted to be known as Scarlette, said some players touched her inappropriately and she had to slam a man's head into the ground to "enforce that I meant no".

The mother and beekeeper said some of the players were "beyond drunk" when she arrived for the performance in the garden bar at the Ōkoroire hot pools, near Matamata, on 1 August last year, and they also threw gravel and chanted lewdly at her.

Two days later, a second woman came forward, making claims of a similar nature.

Last September, the team vowed to help educate players and the rugby community, alongside anti-sexual-violence advocate Louise Nicholas.

An investigation into the two women's allegations was carried out by New Zealand Rugby's lawyer, Keith Binnie, who found they were unsubstantiated.

The organisation said it had decided not to take further action, other than giving the team a collective formal caution.

More than 5000 people signed an open letter to New Zealand Rugby, calling for an independent inquiry into the scandal.

The woman at the centre of the incident, Scarlette, said she did not want the inquiry to be re-opened.