Sunday Panel: Should Sevu Reece have been selected for the All Blacks?

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Should Sevu Reece should have been selected for the All Blacks? All Blacks coach Steve Hansen yesterday strongly defended Reece's selection in his team's Rugby Championship squad, saying the exciting uncapped wing deserves a chance to better himself after an earlier domestic violence charge. In October, Reece, now 22, was discharged without conviction in the Hamilton District Court on one count of male assaults female, which he admitted to, and he has since blossomed during his time in Christchurch, scoring 15 tries on the field and satisfying all off it that he is not only comfortable in Super Rugby but that he has potential to be the same at the next level. Hansen and his fellow selectors believe the Fijian-born Reece has the character and quality to represent New Zealand and thrive in the high-pressure test rugby environment following his standout performances with the Crusaders in his first year of Super Rugby. Hansen said Reece made a bad mistake, but has been through the 'right process' and in future has the potential to be a leader in New Zealand's struggles with domestic violence. "You've got to remove him out of it and say, look there's been a domestic violence incident, do we agree with it? No we don't," said Hansen. "Does the New Zealand Rugby Union? No they don't. Do the Crusaders? No, they don't. "But, it's a big part of our society unfortunately. So rugby is going to have people within its community that are involved in this. "And having been a policeman, I've seen plenty of it. And I know it's not just restricted to males assaulting women, women assault males too. It's not a gender thing, it's a New Zealand problem." That comment has sparked concerns of wide-spread ramifications. Women's Refuge CEO Dr Ang Jury says, while she respects Hansen, domestic violence is a gender thing. "His analysis is sorely lacking. Those are the sorts of comments that could damage everything that we're trying to do in this country to try and change these numbers."

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