New Zealand rugby chief Steve Tew said they would assist the South African police’s investigation into a rape accusation levelled at a member of its U20s team in every way they could.
The player in question, whom the NZRU refused to name, had reportedly voluntarily offered blood samples, fingerprints and a statement before being allowed to leave. He and his room-mate are at the centre of the incident where a 22-year-old Cape Town woman claims to have been raped on Friday night after the Junior World Championship final. Tew said his information was the room-mate was not present at the time of the alleged incident. Furthermore claims that four men were present were completely unfounded.
Tew confirmed the player was with the woman and said he was ‘very upset’ at the allegation. He added the case is being taken ‘incredibly seriously’.
‘An allegation of rape is as serious as it gets so the team, both players and management cooperated fully with the authorities in South Africa,’ Tew told Radio New Zealand. ‘We did not leave South Africa until we had their permission to and if there’s any further assistance they require we’ll continue to cooperate fully.
‘I understand at least one player provided some DNA samples to police. It may have been two, it may have been his room-mate because that’s the obvious connection that was made.’
Although the woman had made the allegation, her statement was that she could not remember anything about the incident, including who the person involved was, according to information the NZRU had received from South African police.
Tew said advice would be sought if South African police needed to speak to players further.
‘We’ll have to work that through and we’ll take advice from our government, because these things become a little more complicated with international law but our cooperation will absolutely be there,’ he said.
‘We’ll certainly review the situation at some point in time but right now, our focus is on making sure the police in South Africa have all the information and assistance they require to make sure this investigation is concluded their way.
‘Clearly there are two sides that are very concerned about this and we need to make sure that they’re both able to draw a conclusion as quickly as possible.’