Coronavirus: Crusaders players caught breaking lockdown rules

A handful of Crusaders players have found themselves in hot water, after they were caught flouting the lockdown rules to train together in Christchurch on Monday.

The incident has been met with swift contempt from both witnesses and health officials, who are urging players to remember the role they play in public.

One anonymous witness to the workout said they were unimpressed with what they saw.

"We're all struggling through this lockdown," the witness said. "And none of us particularly want to be doing it, but we know it's the best thing to do.

"I was disappointed, before I realised who they were."

The Crusaders have confirmed there were three separate bubbles involved, one of which involved star first-five Richie Mo'unga. 

The All Black lives with pregnant wife Sophie, and is clearly seen handling the same ball and training around the group.

"They were looked at by everyone in the park, getting the side eye," the witness added.

Mo'unga continued to train by himself, but Dr Souxsie Wiles says the damage may already have been done.

"If somebody does have COVID-19, this is how it spreads and spreads from bubble to bubble," Dr Wiles told Newshub.

"This is precisely the behaviour we don't want anyone doing."

On Sunday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern expressed her disdain for those who continue to disregard the rules.

"There are still some I would charitably describe as idiots," Ardern said.

Dr Wiles urges athletes to remember the important role they play in the community.

"It is immensely disappointing. Athletes are held up in such high regard in New Zealand and if people see them breaking the rules, they'll think it's okay to break the rules."

Crusaders chief executive Colin Mansbridge agreed the players were in the wrong and confirmed he'd reprimanded those involved.

"They shouldn't have been at the same location," Mansbridge said. "It wasn’t planned and they should know better. 

"I have spoken to those involved and will reinforce that again tonight."

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