Steve Hansen backs Sevu Reece, says domestic violence ‘is not a gender thing’

Steve Hansen backs Sevu Reece, says domestic violence ‘is not a gender thing’

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has defended the selection of Crusaders wing Sevu Reece, claiming that domestic violence “is not a gender thing” in New Zealand.

Reece admitted to one count of male assaults female after injuring his partner while drunk in a Hamilton street last year, but was discharged without conviction after Judge Denise Clark said there were mitigating factors.

After a strong season for the Crusaders, Reece was rewarded with an All Blacks callup and Hansen said he was worthy of wearing the black jersey.

“It’s a big part of our society unfortunately,” Hansen told Radio Sport on Saturday. “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.”

Hansen said New Zealand Rugby were opposed to domestic violence and that the Crusaders had helped him turn his life around.

Instead, he pointed the finger at poor parenting as the reason it was a society-wide issue in New Zealand.

“In some cases, unfortunately, the kids in the family follow the same methods as the people they live with,” Hansen said.

“And if they don’t get the right support and they don’t get the right help, then they end up going down a path that we don’t want them too. And we can’t deny that it’s happening in this country because we see it all the time.

“When I was a policeman I saw it all the time.”

Hansen also said there were two types of domestic abuser and suggested that Reece might not have been rehabilitated if he wasn’t a professional rugby player.

“To simplify it a little bit, there’s usually two types of domestic violence,” Hansen said.

“One where you’ve got a control freak, male or female, or two, you’ve got a frustrated male or female, and they strike out. And that’s two different types of people.

“So when you look at this particular case, rather than asking the question ‘why has rugby brought Sev in and looked after him?’, the question I’d ask is ‘what would happen if we didn’t?’

“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.

“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.”

Reece has scored 16 tries for the Crusaders this year and is a good chance of being part of the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup squad.

Along with Rieko Ioane and George Bridge, he was one of just three specialist wings chosen in the first All Blacks squad of the year.