An All Black who tried dragging his pregnant wife back to their home
has won the right to keep his name secret - provided he keeps out of
trouble until his next court appearance.

Yesterday,
the player appeared in the Waitakere Family Violence Court - a special
court being trialled in West Auckland - and pleaded guilty to
assaulting his wife.

It is understood the only other person to
get permanent name suppression in the Waitakere court in recent years
for a similar case had also been an All Black.

Judge Philip Recordon said the player had assaulted his five-months pregnant wife on the night of October 23.

It
happened after "some issues" at the couple's West Auckland home. The
player's wife walked off lightly dressed intending to go to her
mother's house.

He went to stop her, there was a struggle and he then tried dragging her home.

Judge
Recordon said if the couple underwent counselling, he would discharge
the man without conviction. He remanded him on bail to reappear in
court in February next year.

A lawyer for the Sunday
Star-Times newspaper, Robert Stewart, argued in court for the
suppression order to be lifted, saying there were no special
circumstances to warrant it.

But Judge Recordon said interim name suppression would continue and was likely to be permanent.

He said that the offending was at the lower end of the scale.

"I
am not so concerned about [player A] but his wife and children ... To
this couple the non-publication order is not going to affect anyone
outside this family."

Police prosecutor Sergeant Peter Syddall
expressed concern in court about any suppression order. In seven years,
he had not heard of any other case where name suppression had been
given after a guilty plea was entered except for another former All
Black.

"I am worried about the message that the court may be sending," he said.

Judge
Recordon said the man, who has no previous convictions, could be seen
as a current All Black and was "a rugby player of prominence". He hoped
he continued with his voluntary work in schools and rugby clubs.

"You maybe in time can use this experience as some sort of message to people you speak with."