Rugby World Cup 2019: All Blacks' coach Steve Hansen clarifies domestic violence comments after Sevu Reece selection

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has responded to criticism over comments he made that domestic violence wasn't a "gender thing".

In an interview on Radio Sport last Saturday, Hansen attempted to explain the selection of Sevu Reece in the All Blacks, who admitted to assaulting his girlfriend last year, but Hansen's choice of words didn't go down well.

"Having been a policeman, I've seen a lot of this... and I know it's not just restricted to the male - women assault males," Hansen told Radio Sport. "It's not a gender thing." 

On Wednesday, New Zealand Rugby issued a statement, where Hansen clarified his comments.

"Over the last few days, it has become clear that my comments have come across to some people as being unsympathetic, or minimising how poisonous and harmful domestic violence is for women," Hansen said in the statement.

"Nothing could be further from what I intended. I'm glad to have the chance to correct this impression.

Rugby World Cup 2019: All Blacks' coach Steve Hansen clarifies domestic violence comments after Sevu Reece selection

"Based on my experiences as a police officer, I get the fact that the vast majority of victims of domestic violence are women and children. That's not in dispute and is plain wrong.

"As for the other comments I made about Sevu Reece, I stand by them."

In the Radio Sport interview, Hansen said he hoped Reece could be a role model for change.

"Domestic violence is a big part of our society unfortunately," Hansen said. "So rugby is going to have people within its community that are involved in this.

"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."

The 22-year-old was fined $750, but discharged without conviction by a judge, who didn't want to hurt his professional rugby career.

Regardless, Reece's actions saw his contract with Irish rugby club Connacht torn up.

He then joined the Crusaders wider squad and later earned a full-time contract, finishing the Super Rugby season as the top tryscorer.

Earlier this month, Reece was was one of four uncapped players named in the 39-man All Blacks squad for the opening two tests of the Rugby Championship, alongside Crusaders teammate Braydon Ennor, Highlanders first-five Josh Ioane and Chiefs flanker Luke Jacobson.


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