Mo’unga apologises for lockdown breach after impromptu Crusaders training session
Samoan All Black Richie Mo’unga took to Instagram to explain and apologise for what New Zealand Rugby described as an ‘unacceptable’ lockdown breach.
The first five was spotted and filmed training at Christchurch’s Malvern Park on Monday with several of his Crusaders teammates living in different household ‘bubbles’.
The New Zealand government’s COVID-19 restrictions allow people to leave their homes to exercise, but not to interact with those outside their ‘bubble’.
Mo’unga presented his version of events on social media, saying in a video that the meet-up was purely coincidental and not pre-planned.
"My local park is their local park and our training schedules are the same so we run on the same days and it just happened to be that it was the same time as well,” the 25-year-old said.
"As I arrived I yelled to the boys asking how they were, went about my running sessions.”
He said a ball had been kicked over towards him as he was finishing up:
“Instinctively I picked the ball up and threw it back to them.
"I didn't think twice about it, it happened fast and something I've learned, even my natural instincts, I need to be more careful of."
A One News report said New Zealand Rugby chief executive officer Mark Robinson was less than pleased with the players’ mistake.
"Some of the Crusaders players have not followed these rules and that is unacceptable,” he 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."
Crsusaders chief executive officer Colin Mansbridge told Radio New Zealand’s Morning report programme that the players were just trying to keep training in lockdown, and went about it the wrong way.
"What's clear to me is that it's clumsy and not wilful, it was not pre-arranged," he said
"They actually washed their hands after the transfer of equipment between and washed the equipment down when they got home which is standard behaviour even when there is two of them in the same bubble."