New Zealand Rugby (NZR) is facing another off-field headache after a member of the Mid Canterbury team was left facing charges following an alleged incident in Gisborne this month.

A police spokeswoman told the Herald a player in his 20s was arrested on October 2 and charged with assault with intent to commit rape. He is due to appear before the Gisborne District Court on October 31.

It is understood the alleged incident occurred the day after Mid Canterbury played East Coast in Ruatoria.

NZR chief executive Steve Tew said the organisation is aware of an allegation involving a player from Mid Canterbury, and has been providing support to the union.


"A court suppression order is in place and we are not able to comment further at this stage.

"However, New Zealand Rugby will continue to monitor this situation closely."

Mid Canterbury Rugby Union chief executive Ian Patterson said he would not comment on matters before the court.

The allegations come after what has been a tumultuous time for rugby off the field.

NZR last month came under criticism for its handling of the Chiefs' stripper saga, after an investigation into the matter uncovered no evidence to support claims made by a woman who performed for the team at an end-of-season function.

The sport once more found itself in the spotlight following the Losi Filipo assault case, with the Wellington junior discharged without conviction after injuring two men and two women.

And All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith was last week banned for one match following a tryst with a woman in a disabled bathroom at Christchurch Airport. The player is still to face a disciplinary process.