28 Jun 2012

Player probed over rape claim says he's innocent

3:31 pm on 28 June 2012

New Zealand rugby under 20s rugby player Nathan Harris says he is innocent of the sexual assault allegations made against him in South Africa.

South African police are investigating a complaint laid by a 22-year-old woman who says she was raped by at least one under 20s player in a Cape Town hotel on Saturday.

Nathan Harris has requested his identity be released so everyone knows he is the player at the centre of the allegations.

Harris says he feels very strongly that he is innocent.

In a statement released on Thursday he admits he broke team rules by allowing a woman to go to his room and says he has let the team and his family down and is truly sorry.

He says he wants to apologise to his team mates, team management, his parents and friends who supported the under 20s team in South Africa.

Harris says the past five days have been a very stressful and painful time for him and his family.

He says he has learnt a lot and now hopes for a good outcome so he can get on with his life.

The NZRU said on Monday that a player at the centre of the allegations had been drinking and may face disciplinary action after breaking team protocols by bringing the woman back to the team's hotel.