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New Zealand Rugby has issued an apology to fans after an ill-advised attempt to celebrate International Women's Day was labelled a 'meaningless PR stunt'.
The post made to the All Blacks' page on Twitter for International Women's Day has since been deleted, after it was fiercely criticised for a number of key failings.
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Chief among those was the omission of any mention of the Black Ferns, New Zealand's women's rugby team.
The choice of players to appear in the post was also heavily criticised, with the inclusions of player Sevu Reece and Aaron Smith also not going down well with fans.
Both players have a history of controversy and crime revolving around the behaviour towards women in the past.
Reece admitted in court to drunkenly assaulting his partner on the street in 2018, with the court ruling there were mitigating circumstances in its decision not to record a conviction against him.
Smith was at the centre of a 2016 scandal in which he was kicked out of the All Blacks squad for having sex with a woman in a bathroom at Christchurch Airport.
In addition to completely omitting any mention of the national women's side, the original post also thanked the 'partners, mothers, daughters, doctors, physios, referees and fans' for making the game what it is today.
The combination of errors lead to a reckoning from fans on social media.
You include smith and reece let leave out the black ferns? Think you got this wrong on so many levels that leaves this as a meaningless PR stunt
— Henry Legg (@HLegg1983) March 8, 2022
This is probably the most tone deaf tweet I think I’ve ever seen.
To include Sevu Reece on an International Womens Day post and to not even post anything about the Black Ferns https://t.co/gc0G1WXQQi
— Jack Bishop (@JackBish13) March 8, 2022
— Amir Mizroch (@Amirmizroch) March 8, 2022
This is pretty poor guys
— Anthony Lewis (@tonylewis92) March 8, 2022
Why is #InternationalWomensDay needed? ⬇️ this right here!
Black ferns are current world champions yet this post chose to ignore their exsistence and instead thank the women who ‘allow’ men to play. Also they used a player who has plead guilty to domestic abuse #dobetter https://t.co/TUzptCDH84
— Kat Merchant (@KatMerchant14) March 8, 2022
In response, an apology was soon posted on both the All Blacks and New Zealand Rugby accounts.
New Zealand Rugby also apologised for the ill-conceived post in a statement sent to and pubished by the NZ Herald.
“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,” an NZR spokesperson said.
“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.”
We didn’t get it right and we apologise – our entire rugby whānau are so proud of our @BlackFerns and all our wāhine, in everything that they do on and off the pitch.@BlackFerns @AllBlacks7s @AllBlacks @NZRugby (2/2)
— New Zealand Rugby (@NZRugby) March 9, 2022
NZ Rugby agrees to whopping funding deal
New Zealand Rugby has finally agreed terms for its much-craved cash injection, shaking hands with the players union to sell a minority stake to private equity firm Silver Lake.
The New Zealand Rugby (NZR) board announced the deal on Thursday morning, which will see the American firm invest an initial $NZ200 million ($A186 million) to own 5.71 per cent of NZR's commercial arms.
The deal comes after months of tense debate, with players blocking previous efforts for private ownership of the All Blacks brand, which has always been wholly publicly owned.
The players union (NZRPA) opposed a deal announced last April which would see Silver Lake take a 12.5 per cent stake for $NZ387.5 million ($A360 million), instead proposing a five per cent public offering.
Under the new agreement, NZR insists it will retain "full control" of its rugby and commercial strategies, with Silver Lake to stay a minority investor.
NZR chairman Stewart Mitchell said the funding "marks the beginning of a transformational phase for the entire game" in New Zealand.
"The journey to get here hasn't been easy at times," Mitchell said.
"There was healthy debate and some adjustments by all parties, but always with the good of the game at the heart of this process ... we are proud of where we have landed with this partnership."
Silver Lake owns over $US90 billion ($A125 billion) in worldwide combined assets, including many sporting brands.
It has a stake in the New York Knicks basketball team, New York Rangers ice hockey team, English Premier League colossus Manchester City and its parent company City Football Group, and more recently A-Leagues operator the APL.
It took a 33 per cent share in the A-Leagues last December in a deal worth an estimated $A140 million to Australian football.
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