New Zealand rugby team slammed online for ‘tone-deaf’ International Women’s Day post

All Blacks International Women's Day Twitter Post

New Zealand Rugby have been heavily criticised for their ‘tone-deaf’ social media post, in reference to International Women’s Day. 

The All Blacks shared a selection of images on Twitter that featured the likes of Aaron Smith and Sevu Reece, alongside women in their lives. The post was captioned: “Forever grateful to all the women in our lives that allow us to play the game we love. Partners, mothers, daughters, doctors, physios, referees, administrators and fans. Appreciate you every day.”

So far, however, the response to the post has been overwhelmingly negative, with many feeling annoyed that the All Blacks chose not to recognise their women’s team, who have won five of the last six World Cups. 

One fan wrote: “Staggering – went to @AllBlacks feed looking for their earlier post celebrating their (hugely successful, won 5 of last 6 world cups) women’s team. Nope. Just below, thank[ing] women who support the men, nobody else worth mentioning. #IWD #InternationalWomensDay.” 

Meanwhile, prominent rugby YouTuber ‘Squidge Rugby’ tweeted: “Even aside from the *questionable* choice of All Blacks here, the fact the NZRU ignores the players who have won five of the last six World Cups in order to suggest women’s role in rugby is solely to support the men is disgusting, telling, and sadly unsurprising.”

The reference to New Zealand Rugby’s ‘questionable’ choice of personnel relates to winger Reece, who admitted to assaulting his partner in 2018. 

Reece was discharged without conviction after the judge ruled there were mitigating factors, and he has since gone on to represent the All Blacks 17 times. 

NZ Women's Rugby

This has led to widespread backlash online and a number of people have questioned how New Zealand Rugby could be so ignorant in sharing photos of a known abuser. 

“This is probably the most tone-deaf tweet I think I’ve ever seen,” said one Twitter user. “To include Sevu Reece on an International Women’s Day post and to not even post anything about the Black Ferns.” 

The Irish Women’s Rugby Supporters Club also explicitly stated their disappointment, tweeting:  “​​Instead of the All Blacks sharing pictures of the Black Ferns and celebrating the women that represent their union, they share pictures of men that abuse women.”

A third echoed this same idea and also drew attention to Smith –– another player featured in the All Blacks post. The scrum-half was discovered to have cheated on his partner at an airport back in 2017. 

“Bit of an own goal on this one All Blacks,” stressed one user. 

“Featuring one player who is [a] domestic abuser and one player that famously cheated on his partner in the disabled toilet at an airport.

“Not exactly inspiring, while not mentioning a single Black Fern (female New Zealand rugby players).” 

As of now, the official All Blacks Twitter page is yet to delete the controversial post.

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