"I don't think there is one New Zealander who wouldn't have picked him”

By Te Ao - Māori News

All Black coach Steve Hansen

All Black coach Steve Hansen addressed the selection of Sevu Reece today, saying that the team had ‘done their due diligence.’

The Fijian-born Reece, who re-signed with the Crusaders for another two years this week, was was discharged without conviction in the Hamilton District Court on one count of male assaults female last October.

It led to a contract with Irish province Connacht being withdrawn, and led him to be selected by the Crusaders instead. His subsequent form this year in Super Rugby has been outstanding, scoring 15 tries in 13 games so far.

Hansen was questioned about Reece’s rapid elevation to the national side despite the October incident, but said that it didn’t play a part at all in his thinking.

“They didn’t form any really, that’s all been dealt with both in the court and by the rugby union. We’ve had conversations with the Crusaders and everyone’s been giving him a big tick.” he told media today.

The inclusion has drawn criticism from some quarters of the media, who have felt that Reece’s selection sends the wrong message about domestic violence.