New Zealand Rugby (NZR) on Tuesday condemned several Crusaders players who were caught flouting strict lockdown rules by training together at a Christchurch park.
Five players from the Super Rugby champions, including All Black flyhalf Richie Mo’unga, were photographed passing a ball and going through training drills together on Monday.
The Crusaders admitted the players were from several households – which are supposed to remain separate under New Zealand’s lockdown rules.
“Some of the Crusaders’ players have not followed these rules and that is unacceptable,” NZ Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson said.
“We have reminded everyone involved in rugby that they must abide by the New Zealand government Covid-19 guidelines and this situation must not happen again.”
However, it appears the players will not face further punishment, with Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge saying their actions were not deliberate.
He said players from separate households who lived close to the park happened to turn up at the park around the same time and began passing a ball around.
“It was clumsy and not wilful… we’re not happy, they’re not happy and they are contrite,” he told Radio New Zealand.
“We are sorry, it was something we did not envisage.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had some choice words this week for the minority of people who were not following rules during the South Pacific nation’s four-week lockdown.
“While compliance has been generally strong, there are still some who I would charitably describe as idiots,” she told reporters on Monday.