new zealand All blacks

New Zealand Rugby has apologised for a tweet marking International Women’s Day that failed to acknowledge the world champion Black Ferns. Photo: EPA/KIMIMASA MAYAMA

All Blacks say sorry after BACKLASH following ‘tone deaf’ Women’s Day tweet

New Zealand Rugby has apologised for a tweet marking International Women’s Day that failed to acknowledge the world champion Black Ferns.

new zealand All blacks

New Zealand Rugby has apologised for a tweet marking International Women’s Day that failed to acknowledge the world champion Black Ferns. Photo: EPA/KIMIMASA MAYAMA

New Zealand Rugby has apologised for a tweet marking International Women’s Day that failed to acknowledge the world champion Black Ferns.

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The tweet, on the official All Blacks Twitter account, featured a photo of Fijian-born flyer Sevu Reecewho pleaded guilty to assaulting his female partner in 2018.

The caption read: “Forever grateful to all the women in our lives that allow us to play the game we love. Partners, mothers, daughters, doctors, physios, referees, administrators and fans. Appreciate you every day.”

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It drew criticism as being “tone deaf’’ for omitting mention of the Black Ferns, who have won the Women’s Rugby World Cup a record five times, and so relegating women to a supporting role, while featuring a male player who assaulted his partner.

Reece was discharged without conviction after a judge ruled there were mitigating factors in the case.

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“NZR and our Teams in Black celebrated International Women’s Day across all of our digital channels and our intent was to portray the many roles women have in our game,’’ a NZR spokesperson said on Wednesday.

“We didn’t get it right and we apologise – our entire rugby whānau are so proud of our Black Ferns and all our wāhine, in everything that they do on and off the pitch.”

The original tweet sparked an immediate backlash on social media, with some users calling it “tone deaf” and urging the All Blacks social media team to take it down.

The post was still on Twitter after the apology for it was issued.

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https://twitter.com/AllBlacks/status/1500961834806902786

In 2019, then All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said NZ Rugby was working hard with Reece and others in top-level rugby, around domestic violence.

“He’s come into an environment in the Crusaders where they’ve put a lot of things around him that have helped educate him, they’ve helped him understand that to be a good person you have to do certain things, and by doing that he’s shown a lot of remorse for what he’s done,” Hansen said in 2019.

“He’s been actively trying to better himself and also, when he comes into our environment we already have a policy that better people make better All Blacks so we continue that with each and every individual we’ve got.”

All Blacks also included Aaron Smith in the post

The All Blacks’ post also included a photo of scrumhalf Aaron Smith and his partner. 

In 2016 the All Blacks suspended Smith for one game and he made the decision to travel home from South Africa, after witnesses saw him entering a public toilet with a woman at Christchurch Airport.