All Blacks star Akira Ioane and former New Zealand captain Justin Marshall had to be separated, a new video has shown.
The video, which has been circulating over the past 24 hours, shows Ioane being pulled away from Marshall by teammates and pinned on a mini bus.
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Marshall, meanwhile, was directed away by winger Caleb Clarke, who seemingly was playing the role as peacemaker, as the All Blacks made their way out of a Wellington establishment.
It’s believed the incident occurred following the All Blacks’ 32-22 third Test defeat to Ireland in Wellington.
The series loss, which came after they took a 1-0 series lead, was their first home series loss since 1994.
It was also their first back to back defeats at home since 2009.
The series loss has heaped the pressure on under-siege coach Ian Foster, who has now lost four of his past five Tests in charge.
New Zealand Rugby later cancelled a media opportunity on Sunday, as they attempted to protect Foster from mounting criticism.
“I decided not to demand that All Blacks head coach Ian Foster front late on Sunday morning. Not him,” communications manager Jo Malcolm wrote on LinkedIn.
“I felt he needed a day or so to work out what he wanted to say and not just be a punching bag for the media, who, let’s be clear, wanted blood.”
She added: “Ian Foster and (captain) Sam Cane have been bagged so much in the media, I felt they needed a little space to think. My bad? Hindsight? I’ll take that hit. I am here to look after people as well as do comms.“
The late night incident continues a tumultuous week for the All Blacks and New Zealand Rugby, who last year gave Foster a contract extension through to the World Cup following their Bledisloe Cup victory over the Wallabies.
But NZR are coming under increased pressure to act on Foster, with former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland and six-time straight Super Rugby-winning coach Scott ‘Razor’ Robertson waiting in the wings.
Foster is expected to be given one final opportunity to turn the ship around, with the All Blacks’ two Tests against the world champions, the Springboks, shaping as the pivotal final test.
In a statement provided by the NZR, the governing body said security was present at the venue and added “behaving responsibly is one of the core values in our team environment”.
“Our security was managing the group in a separate area at the venue,” the statement read.
“We have contacted venue staff and spoken at length with players and security staff, who recall words being exchanged with another individual, as they were leaving. Our security proceeded to escort our players to their transport.
“Behaving responsibly is one of the core values in our team environment. The group were working to meet their curfew and when faced with a tricky situation, they did what they could to ensure everyone departed safely at the appropriate time.”
Marshall, the former halfback turned respected pundit, had questioned Foster’s selection for the series.
“There are players that are in that team that probably shouldn’t be there,” Marshall told SENZ radio.
“Now that’s a big statement I know, but I [wasn’t] utterly convinced about the players that were put in that side and that Ian Foster was trusting the All Blacks to go out there and win us a Test series against Ireland and therefore move on and win us a World Cup.”
“There are lots of equations in the mix, like what the hell is Caleb Clarke doing there if his hamstring was never going to be right for the series?,” he added.
“There’s no point in having a guy there [that isn’t fit to play]. They didn’t need to name players that they couldn’t use. Why did they do that?”