Victim advocate Louise Nicholas disappointed Chiefs players 'haven't learned lessons' from stripper scandal

Victim advocate Louise Nicholas says allegations Chiefs rugby players verbally abused two female parking wardens are "disappointing" and seemingly show the team hasn't learned from strippergate.

The Hamilton City Council wardens were allegedly yelled at yesterday morning after ticketing one vehicle near Steele Park where the Chiefs had been training and putting a warning on another.

The players, who have not yet been identified, allegedly called the women "c***s", "useless" and "lazy", Newshub reported.

Read more: Chiefs address alleged verbal abuse of parking wardens

The allegations come after last year's strippergate, in which Chiefs players were accused of abusing a woman during a Mad Monday drinking session.

An investigation exonerated players of any blame, but New Zealand Rugby issued them a formal warning which will sit as a "black mark" on their record.

Nicholas told the Herald the alleged verbal abuse was disappointing.

"The same team in the spotlight again... What part of the lessons from last year haven't they learned?

"What aren't they getting?

"Regardless of the type of behaviour, it's still bad behaviour."

Louise Nicholas said: "Regardless of the type of behaviour, it's still bad behaviour." Photo / Mark Mitchell
Louise Nicholas said: "Regardless of the type of behaviour, it's still bad behaviour." Photo / Mark Mitchell

Nicholas was glad the wardens were okay, and both the Hamilton City Council and the Chiefs Rugby Club were addressing the incident.

She hoped New Zealand Rugby's new Respect and Responsibility review panel would also look into the incident.

The panel was formed at the end of last year following the stripper scandal, the Losi Filipo assault case and Aaron Smith's toilet tryst.

"This is exactly the sort of behaviour the panel was set up to address," Nicholas said.

"It shouldn't just be looking at physical violence and sexual violence, but the culture of rugby right across the board."

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In a video statement, Chiefs Rugby Club head coach Dave Rennie said the players denied the comments were directed at the wardens but apologised for any distress caused.

The Chiefs had been in discussion with the council and "wholeheartedly" supported them in their stance against poor behaviours against any of their staff, Rennie said.

Hamilton City Council acting chief executive Kelvyn Eglinton confirmed the discussion with the Chiefs.

He commended the wardens for their "dignity, integrity and the professionalism" in which they performed their jobs. He said they wanted to put the incident behind them.

Last August, allegations were made that members of the Chiefs rugby team inappropriately touched, licked and threw alcohol and gravel at a stripper.

The following month, New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew announced the result of its investigation, which involved the interviewing of players, several independent witnesses and the woman hired for the 2016 celebrations.

The results found that while the performance was legal and consensual, it was wholly inappropriate for professional rugby teams to engage in events of this nature and players should take collective responsibility.

Chiefs' management was also criticised, with the investigators finding they should have worked more closely with the players to ensure the end of year functions were managed appropriately.

- NZ Herald

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