New Zealand under-20 rugby tour player charged with rape

Tue, Jun 26, 2012, 01:00

A MEMBER of the New Zealand under-20 rugby squad participating in the IRB Junior World Championship in Cape Town has been charged with raping a young woman hours after his team lost the final last Friday.

Police spokesperson Col Vish Naidoo confirmed to reporters yesterday that officers were called to the New Zealand team’s hotel in Cape Town on Saturday morning after a 22-year-old woman claimed one of the “Baby Blacks” had raped her.

“Police forensic experts were on the scene at the hotel scouring the crime scene and taking samples on the spot,” he said.

The incident was first reported yesterday in the New Age newspaper, which quoted an unnamed staff member at the Southern Sun hotel in Newlands as saying the woman entered the premises on Friday evening and told the front desk she was visiting a cousin staying there.

“But it seems she met the rugby players somewhere earlier, because she knew what rooms they were staying in,” said the hotel source.

“According to some of my colleagues she was apparently drunk. And on Saturday morning she called her parents to fetch her at the hotel after claims that she was raped.

“Her parents insisted on opening a case of rape. We are not certain that she was raped, but there was blood found on a sheet on a bed. The rugby players left the hotel at 12am on Saturday.”

However, despite the rape charge all members of the rugby team were allowed to leave South Africa on Saturday to return home after the New Zealand high commission held negotiations with police about the incident.

The initial report on the incident stated that four members of the team had been accused of raping the woman, but police later confirmed that a single player had been charged.

The New Zealand rugby union said yesterday it would co-operate fully with South African police inquiries into the incident.“Our understanding is that the allegation was focused on one player,” the union said in a statement.

General manager Neil Sorensen said the team and management had complied and co-operated fully with the police investigation, after which the police advised “they were happy for all members of the team to travel home”.

The New Zealand team lost the tournament final to South Africa by 22 points to 16.