Misconduct numbers revealed in New Zealand Rugby report

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

New Zealand Rugby has released the recommendations of its Respect and Responsbility report on Thursday, highlighting some major concerns within the code.

The review was prompted after a series of allegations against New Zealand rugby players emerged last year, including Aaron Smith's sex scandal and the Chiefs' Mad Monday stripper controversy. 

Thirty-six cases of misconduct were found between 2013 and 2017, ranging from missing meetings to "inappropriate sexual behavior towards others". 

The report summary said more than half of the incidents involved alcohol or drugs. 

Six goals have been determined by the review panel: inclusive leadership, developing people, nurturing wellbeing, gender equity, proactive engagement and accountable and independent. 

Aaron Smith will not face the Springboks. Photo: Getty ImagesAs part of the recommendations was a move to establish an independent complaints board, for reporting issues with employees and players. 

Outside of the off-field issues, the report emphasized a need for greater diversity, saying "New Zealand Rugby needs to consider the cost of not including female talent if he sport wants to remain competitive".  

Currently, none of New Zealand's national women's teams are fully professional. 

Though there is no specific mention of pay, the long term recommendations include a view to holding concurrent Black Ferns and All Blacks and men’s and women’s Sevens tournaments within the next eight years.

New Zealand Rugby CEO Steve Tew said the organisation was dedicated to ensuring these changes occurred.

“They’re not all simple or easy to deliver and nor should they be,” he said.

“ We are committing to real change, and to be leaders for that change.  The integrity, reputation, and ultimate success of the game in New Zealand depends on this.”

The nine-person panel was chaired by Kathryn Beck and also included recently retired All Black Keven Mealamu.

Read the recommendations summary here.

The full report is set to be made publicly available later on Thursday.