By CLAIRE TREVETT
The Blues rugby franchise says the two players expelled from an Auckland bar were acting within the standards of behaviour set down in their contracts.
Mils Muliaina, Doug Howlett and other Blues players were thrown out of the exclusive Spy Bar on Quay St while celebrating the team's Super 12 final win on Saturday.
Bar manager Chris Barron said the players had been warned to behave themselves, but were asked to leave after Howlett began acting up on the dance floor.
Howlett later abused a female staff member and threw a glass at her, Mr Barron said.
Blues chief executive David White said he was comfortable that his players had not breached the protocols in their collective agreement.
He had spoken to Howlett about the glass he threw "and I'm confident there was no intent to cause damage to any individual".
Mr White also defended Muliaina, who was left with a dislocated nose and black eye after a verbal stoush with a member of the public turned physical.
Muliaina and Howlett were getting into a taxi when the man pulled Muliaina out of the vehicle.
A witness said: "Mils was egging the other guy on, talking to him in Samoan and stuff ...
"Mils was trying to fight and Doug was trying to get him into the car."
Off-duty doormen from other bars eventually broke the fight up, he said.
Mr White said he understood there was a verbal exchange, "but that gives no individual the right to physically assault another person".
Muliaina was the victim, he said, and no Blues player had touched or assaulted any member of the public.
The fight did not spoil Muliaina's chances of All Black selection - he was named in the 26-man squad yesterday.
Muliaina was still deciding whether to lay a complaint with police.
"It's been a big day for him emotionally," Mr White said.
"Obviously he's very upset, and then making the All Blacks, it's a big day.
"He just wants to take a bit of time to assess his position."
All Blacks coach John Mitchell said he was aware of the incident but left further action in the hands of the Auckland Rugby Union (ARU).
But he issued a warning about the behaviour that would be expected of Muliaina.
"There are responsibilities that come with being an All Black and Mils, like every other All Black, will have to adjust to All Black life very quickly."
Spy Bar management weighed in against the antics of the Blues members, with general manager Nick Boyle telling One News that the team would not be allowed back into the bar.
Howlett would not comment on the incident yesterday beyond saying he had "moved on".
"Everything's been said that needs to be said by Auckland Rugby's David White."
Carlos Spencer said he was not there and did not see the fight.
Last August, the ARU suspended Muliaina from two NPC games after he was seen urinating near others in Parnell's George Bar.
- Additional reporting Rebecca Walsh, NZPA