A Wellington rugby player had one of the better excuses for being late to training after a woman mistakenly drove off in his car - and even put petrol in the empty tank.

Alex Hinchliffe was more than a little perplexed when he left his dark blue Hyundai i45 Elite for a few minutes to grab food before rugby practice only to find it had vanished when he returned.

Initially he thought his mates from his Paremata Plimmerton Rugby Club premier team were teaching him a lesson for leaving his keys in the central console. But then he noticed a car identical to his parked nearby.

Fairfax said a person waiting in the carpark told Hinchliffe a lady had got in his vehicle and driven away.


The 22-year-old rang police and explained his predicament, giving the licence plate of the car mistakenly left behind.

"I told them I thought some lady had accidentally stolen my car.

"They had a bloody good laugh and said it was the funniest thing that had happened all day," he told Fairfax.

Meanwhile the unsuspecting woman had driven to her Upper Hutt home, stopping on the way to fill up with $30 worth of fuel at a petrol station.

Hinchliffe told Fairfax it wasn't until police contacted her that she realised it wasn't her car.

He was reunited with his car an hour later, his coach letting him off his late arrival saying it was one of the few acceptable reasons to be late to training.