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Chiefs cautioned over 'Mad Monday' behaviour

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 7/09/2016 Radio New Zealand

New Zealand Rugby will not take action against individual Chiefs players but has issued the team with a caution over behaviour at its end-of-season celebrations.

A woman who performed as a stripper at the function at the Ōkoroire Hot Pools, near Matamata, had said some players touched her inappropriately, threw gravel and chanted lewdly at her.

New Zealand Rugby has investigated the incident and announced its findings at a news conference in Wellington.

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The organisation said its investigation had found the woman's allegations were unsubstantiated.

Its chief executive, Steve Tew, said it did not have grounds to pursue misconduct action but the team as a whole had been given a formal caution.

"While the investigation concludes that the balance of the evidence, based largely on independent witnesses, strongly supports a finding that the alleged sexual assault did not take place as reported in the media, we are far from satisfied that players should not bear some culpability for the harm done to the game, to the Chiefs brand, and to their families."

The joint inquiry also involved the Chiefs organisation and the New Zealand Rugby Players' Association.

Police said on 9 August they would not be taking any action after discussing the allegations with the woman.

At the time, Chiefs chief executive Andrew Flexman said the club was taking the allegations "extremely seriously" and he expressed his disappointment that some players hired a stripper.

But he questioned allegations the players behaved inappropriately toward the woman, saying her "standing in the community and culpability is not beyond reproach".

However, he said later he regretted those comments.

Chiefs player Michael Allardice also apologised for making homophobic comments at the hot pools on the same night.

My Food Bag ends sponsorship of team

Meanwhile, a food delivery company, My Food Bag, has announced it is terminating its sponsorship deal with the Chiefs.

It will donate any remaining sponsorship fees to Women's Refuge.

The company's founder and co-chief executive, Cecilia Robinson, said the team's conduct didn't reflect the company's values.

My Food Bag said it would continue to sponsor individual athletes.

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