All Blacks flyhalf Richie Mo’unga has apologised for breaking New Zealand’s lockdown but says his presence at an informal Crusaders session was coincidental.
Newshub reported that an eyewitness had spotted a number of Crusaders players, Mo’unga among them, passing and kicking the ball at a park on Monday morning.
The Crusaders confirmed in a statement that Mo’unga was one of the players involved and that it was not a formal team training session.
Mou’unga took to his Instagram page to apologise for not being a good role model but said that the whole story had not been reported.
‘I just want to speak about what happened and clear a few things up,’ he said. ‘Some things that I think are important to know and also some things that was forgot [sic] to be mentioned on the news last night.
‘I want to start off by saying this was not an organised training. There were no communications before hand saying that we should train in this park together. It was by coincidence that I rocked up and they were there training.
‘In fact, they were there just finishing up their session. My local park is that local park and our training schedules are the same so we run on the same days. It just so happened to be it was the same time.’
Continuing to explain the incident, Mo’unga said he ended up breaking the bubble by accident.
‘As I arrived I [talked] to the boys from afar, asking how they were and got ready for my running session. As I had finished one of my running sessions, the ball had been kicked over and instinctively I went and picked the ball up and threw it back to them.
‘I will say that was the only interaction I had with them apart from talking to them. It was something that was so instinctive for me to do – to pick the ball up and throw it back to them. I didn’t think twice about it. It was something that happened fast.
‘It’s something that I’ve learnt that even [though it was] my natural instincts, it’s something I need to be more careful of and I will be more careful of.’
New Zealand are currently in a state of emergency and have declared a level-four (the highest) lockdown on their Covid-19 scale. Only solitary training is allowed while interacting with people outside of one’s self-isolation bubble is not allowed.