New Zealand Rugby
Haden's World Cup role safe
May 31, 2010
Murray McCully (second from left) joins other dignitaries to pose with the World Cup trophy © Getty Images
Andy Haden's race-related claims against the Crusaders will not cost him his role as a Rugby World Cup ambassador, according to Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully.
Haden's role was called into question after he accused New Zealand's most successful Super 14 franchise of systematically limiting the number of Polynesian players in their ranks, or "darkies" as he called them, to three.
The former All Black's claims caused uproar and were hotly refuted by the franchise. Haden has refused to back down from his accusations but he at least apologised for his "darkies" comment on Sunday, a move which McCully admitted had saved his post. The minister added that Haden's sporting and business contacts, particularly in Australia, were also an important factor in Haden being retained.
"Look, some people are going to be happy, some people are going to be unhappy with the decision we have made," McCully said. "But if we were to take out everyone that made a mistake and shoot them, we would sooner or later run out of people to do things in this country. I think we have to accept that a mistake was made, it's been addressed by Mr Haden, and I'm satisfied to leave it there."
Haden is one of six World Cup ambassadors. The others are Jonah Lomu, Sean Fitzpatrick, John Kirwan, David Kirk and Andrew Mehrtens.