Crusaders 'disrespected' the Aotearoa trophy admit coach
REACTION: Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has offered an emotional apology to renowned Otaki carver Bill Doyle after his side’s ‘inappropriate’ abuse of the Super Rugby Aotearoa trophy.
The Crusaders coach admitted his team didn’t respect the trophy enough and conceded to the media that the side have broken the custom-made Super Rugby Aotearoa trophy during post-match celebrations.
New Zealand’s sporting headlines were dominated this week by the story after it emerged that the Crusaders had severely damaged the custom made Tū Kōtahi Aotearoa trophy that had been designed and created in consultation with master carver Jason Hina exclusively for this competition.
Robertson revealed that the team had spent a significant amount of time on Friday discussing the incident and the fallout in an attempt to educate themselves on the significance of the trophy.
The coach also revealed that they wanted to redeem themselves during Sundaý’s final fixture against the Blues.
However, following the cancellations of the fixture due to a resurgent of the Covid-19 in Auckland it is now impossible.
Instead, Robertson addressed the media and convey his apologies.
“Part of the reason we wanted to put in a really good performance [was] the actual trophy, Tū Kōtahi,” Robertson told the New Zealand Herald.
“But obviously what’s happened during the week, I formally want to say on behalf of the Crusaders and myself, it’s been quite a tough week for us.
“We didn’t respect the trophy and I would like to apologise to Bill and [son] Sam Doyle and mana whenua. We gave our hearts and souls to win it and that took a lot of our focus this week.”
He added: “Today we wanted to start the restorative process towards it and build some more respect so we did a karakia and we haka’d it just to start to formalise that process.”
According to New Zealand Herald, Doyle’s daughter Geena published a Facebook post which claimed the trophy had been used as a doorstop during the Crusaders’ celebrations and that some of the players had used it “inappropriately”.
The Crusaders have denied these allegations but, according to Robertson, had reached out to the Doyle family to apologise.
“Codie [Taylor, Crusaders captain] has reached out, Whetukamokamo Douglas as well on how we can pay respects,” Robertson said.
“To be fair, we’ve had that in the back of our minds and we’ve just wanted to do the right thing. We’d love to go up there [Ōtaki] formally, face-to-face to formalise this process.
“[Douglas] spoke today [to the team] with a lot of heart. Our knowledge of the trophy wasn’t strong enough. It is now. If we knew what we know now …
“There was no malice, there was no intent. What we did wasn’t respectful enough and he explained that to us. It was quite an emotional day for us.”