Steve Hansen faces criticism over justification for Sevu Reece selection
New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen has come under fire after trying to justify his selection of Crusaders winger Sevu Reece in his 39-man All Blacks squad for the first two matches of the Rugby Championship against Argentina and South Africa later this month.
Reece was one of six uncapped players named in the squad after a fantastic Super Rugby season with the title winning Crusaders where he was the league's top scorer.
Reece joined the Crusaders after his contract with Connacht and the IRFU was rescinded following an early guilty plea for a domestic violence incident at the Hamilton District Court last year. He was given a discharge without conviction and a small fine.
Connacht said in a statement of their contact withdrawal:
'Connacht Rugby and the IRFU have taken the decision, following contact with Sevu Reece in relation to the circumstances of a recent court appearance, not to proceed with a contract to play with the province. Connacht Rugby and the IRFU will make no further comment.'
However, Hansen had no such issue in selecting Reece and said that domestic violence was not a gender issue but a 'New Zealand issue'.
"(Domestic violence is) a big part of our society unfortunately,” Hansen told Radio Sport. “So rugby is going to have people within its community that are involved in this.
“And having been a policeman, I’ve seen plenty of it. And I know it’s not just restricted to males assaulting women, women assault males too. It’s not a gender thing, it’s a New Zealand problem.”
Statistics from New Zealand police, for the 12 months to September 2018, shows that 54 per cent of victims of "acts intended to cause injury" were female, while 76 per cent of the offenders in these crimes were males.
Hansen has been criticised for his remarks but asks where would Reece be if the Crusaders didn't step in for him?
"To simplify it a little bit, there's usually two types of domestic violence," he added.
"One where you've got a control freak, male or female, or two, you've got a frustrated male or female, and they strike out. And that's two different types of people.
"So when you look at this particular case, rather than asking the question, 'Why has rugby brought Sev in and looked after him?', the question I'd ask is: 'What would happen if we didn't?'
"He's come into an environment in the Crusaders where they've put a lot of things around him that have helped educate him, they've helped him understand that to be a good person you have to do certain things, and by doing that he's shown a lot of remorse for what he's done.
"He's been actively trying to better himself and also, when he comes into our environment we already have a policy that better people make better All Blacks so we continue that with each and every individual we've got."