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Haden expected to be sacked tomorrow

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Andy Haden
Andy Haden

Wellington, July 9 NZPA - Andy Haden is going to lose his job as a Rugby World Cup ambassador and he is likely to be told that tomorrow by the minister in charge of the tournament, Murray McCully.

Haden's latest controversial and inappropriate comments, this time about rape and rugby players, convinced the Government he isn't the right man for the job.

Mr McCully is understood to have tried to contact the former All Black this evening but put the bad news on hold because he had meetings to attend.

The minister earlier issued a statement saying he was disappointed to again be in a situation where Haden's comments had provoked public controversy.

"It is not possible to combine the roles of television rugby shock-jock and 2011 ambassador," Mr McCully said.

"This is something I will discuss with Mr Haden quite soon."

Mr McCully said it was the role of Rugby World Cup ambassadors to promote the outstanding programme of activities planned for next year, not to provide major distractions from them.

Prime Minister John Key, speaking to reporters in Shanghai, said he had not spoken to Mr McCully but fully supported the statement the minister had issued.

"I am a long way away from the situation, I am leaving it to Mr McCully to deal with," he said.

Mr Haden did not return NZPA's calls.

He previously survived a sacking when he apologised for causing offence with his claim on Sky TV's Deaker on Sport programme that the Crusaders rugby franchise had race-based selection policies which restricted recruiting to only three "darkies".

On Wednesday this week, on the same programme, he commented on historic sex allegations against former All Black Robin Brooke made by two unnamed women, one of whom subsequently laid a complaint with police.

"There's a bloke called Hugh Grant. He got into a bit of trouble like this and I think if the cheque bounces sometimes, they only realise that they've been raped, you know, sometimes," he said.

Haden said there were two sides to every story.

"It's an equal society now, some of these girls are targeting rugby players and they do so at their peril today, I think."

Rape support groups criticised Haden and Labour's Rugby World Cup spokesman, Trevor Mallard, said Haden should be removed immediately.

"He has already upset many people with his recent comments about darkies and racial quotas in rugby and he should have gone then," Mr Mallard said.

He told NZPA he had known Haden for a long time and considered him a friend.

"He's a bit like me, he's not diplomatic and he says what he thinks and sometimes, when you are representing New Zealand, you can't do that. You've got to bite your tongue," Mr Mallard said.

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