All Black assistant coach Ian Foster fielded question today about the selection of Sevu Reece, and the subsequent comments around the matter by Steve Hansen.
Foster fronted the media at Auckland’s Heritage Hotel, where the team is getting ready to depart for Argentina on Friday. Reece’s selection has brought forth criticism after the Fijian-born winger was discharged without conviction on a charge of male assaults female last year in Hamilton.
Hansen then caused even more controversy in an interview on Radio Sport over the weekend, by suggesting that domestic violence was ‘not a gender thing’.
“I think we’re really confident that we’ve made the right decision. We’re very happy with that.” Foster said of Reece.
When asked about Hansen’s comments, Foster stood by his boss.
“It’s obviously caused a discussion, but Steve’s been brave enough to have a conversation about that. Steve did a great job of explaining it and clarifying that. We’re really confident we’re on the right track.”
Foster went on to say that the All Blacks strive to select ‘perfect’ players, but:
“We’re not a perfect organisation, but I haven’t met too many that are. This is the All Blacks. We generally generate attention, and we know it’s going to come. We need to make sure were front up about issues.”
He was confident that Reece would repay the selectors’ faith in them, saying that:
“High pressure environments often reveal character.”
Hansen also today clarified his comments, with NZ Rugby issuing a press release in which the All Black coach stated:
"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.
"Nothing could be further from what I intended. I’m glad to have the chance to correct this impression.
"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."