Paris, at 3am, might seem a long way from New Zealand. But when you're a former All Black and held by police on the suspicion of buying illicit drugs, it is just the press of a button away as coverage of the extraordinary encounter gets sent for the next news cycle.

A chastened Ali Williams was reminded of this connection this week when his reckless decision to allegedly buy cocaine from an undercover police officer rapidly became a trending topic on social media.

Dan Carter, another French-domiciled retired All Black, had his uncomfortable time in the headlights two weeks ago when he was charged with drink-driving. Williams and Carter have apologised for their poor judgment.

The courts still have to rule in their cases, though yet another former top player, Byron Kelleher, was yesterday fined $300 over a domestic violence incident. It was the latest in a series of brushes with the law in France for Kelleher. The common factor in his problems would seem to be alcohol.


Besides casting the former rugby stars in a poor light, and causing unnecessary distractions for New Zealand Rugby, the episodes reinforce the message that a lapse in standards can be costly wherever it occurs.

When players wind up their careers in New Zealand and head away to well-paid slots overseas, there seems a temptation to loosen the shackles which bind their behaviour at home.

he lesson though is that scrutiny will follow stars of the national game, wherever they see out their careers. It is surprising they even need reminding of this simple truth.