IT ALL started during the 2011 Rugby World Cup when the England squad was based in Queenstown.

The details are sketchy, but it seems some of the English players entered a local bar and one of them -- Mike Tindall, who is married to a member of the British royal family -- was seen drinking beer.

The outrage was palpable.

At the height of the furore, England coach Martin Johnson, himself a legendary player and World Cup-winning skipper in 2003, fronted up to the glare of the world's media ... and even gave them their headline.


"Rugby player drinks beer shock!!"

Naturally, the episode reverberated around the globe.

Jump forward five years and it seems no lessons have been learned.

We have had the Chiefs rugby squad (predominantly male) looking at a naked woman, and then last week another player, All Blacks half-back Aaron Smith, was found to have had sexual intercourse.

In the seismic outfall of this latest aberration, Smith was, of course, sent packing but many were left wondering if the All Blacks -- and, indeed, the game itself -- could survive.

There were suggestions that Richie McCaw should be brought back to instil some dignity and gentlemanly aplomb to the national squad but, in fact, the All Blacks managed to field 15 players who had never drunk beer, never had sex and would swoon at the sight of so much as a female ankle, and so they duly thrashed the Springbok.

Is New Zealand the most prudish, priggish, holier-than-thou nation on the planet?