Crusaders respond to video footage of players training together in public during lockdown

‘All of the players involved have acknowledged they made a mistake by sharing equipment.’

The video footage was published by New Zealand broadcaster Newshub.
The video footage was published by New Zealand broadcaster Newshub.
Image: Newshub.

SUPER RUGBY CHAMPIONS the Canterbury Crusaders have spoken out after a group of their players were spotted training together near their team base in Christchurch amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.

All Blacks star Richie Mo’unga was filmed — in footage published by Newshub — training alongside team-mates, despite New Zealand also following strict lockdown rules.

The incident was met with swift contempt from witnesses and health officials, who urged the rugby players to remember the role model role they play in public.

And after the group finding themselves in hot water, Crusaders released a statement.

Within, the club notes that management have spoken with those involved and it is “confident this was not an organised training session,” rather two groups of flatmates bumping in to one another.

The statement also notes that all players “made a conscious effort to observe physical distancing,” though “they did share equipment,” so this acts as a lesson for all.

The statement, in full, reads: “The Crusaders are aware of some of our players training at Malvern Park in Christchurch today.

“Management have spoken with the players involved, all of whom live within walking distance of Malvern Park. The club is confident this was not an organised training session among the group, but rather one group of flatmates training in their ‘bubble’ who were coincidentally joined by a second group.

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england-v-new-zealand-2019-rugby-world-cup-semi-final-international-stadium-yokohama Richie Mo'unga was among the players. Source: David Davies

“Meanwhile, one player completed running blocks individually. While these players made a conscious effort to observe physical distancing, they did share equipment by throwing and kicking a rugby ball among themselves.”

“In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, this is a time when our community needs to work together and look after one another, and our players are social leaders in that regard,” Crusaders CEO Colin Mansbridge added.

The guidelines from the New Zealand Government are clear, and all of the players involved have acknowledged they made a mistake by sharing equipment. I am confident, I know there wasn’t a conscious effort to flout the rules, but this is a timely and valuable lesson for all.

“We have reiterated the guidelines to both the group directly involved, and our wider Crusaders squad to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”

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Emma Duffy

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