All Black stars in booze binge
Cape Town - All Black stars Cory Jane and Israel Dagg apparently went on a drinking binge in a bar in Auckland ahead of their quarter-final clash against Argentina on Sunday.
According to the website, nzherald.co.nz, Jane and injured team-mate Dagg were at the Mac's Brewbar in Takapuna on Thursday.
Jane reportedly also lit up a cigarette inside the bar - breaking the Smoke-free Environments Act of 1990, which bans smoking in pubs since 2004.
When police showed up for a regulation check - a customary practice in Takapuna - bar staff apparently hid the players in the bar's kitchen. Stunned onlookers said the duo appeared to be "swaying" and "slurring" their words.
Jane reportedly waved a wad of $50 notes at the bar, offering to buy patrons a drink. He also allegedly ventured behind the bar and acted like he was going to pour himself a drink.
Two witnesses who spoke with the Herald on Sunday said the pair entered the bar about 10.45pm.
"Israel Dagg came over to talk to us but was definitely worse for wear," said one source. "He wasn't very steady on his feet, his speech was slightly slurred and he was wavering a little.
"It wasn't as if he was about to fall over but there was no doubt he was (affected).
"I asked him where they had been that night; he looked blankly at me for a second before laughing and saying 'I've got no idea'.
"He didn't have a clue where they had been that night."
Soon after the two arrived, Jane was seen smoking a cigarette by the bar.
"It was in the middle of the bar - you could see all the smoke around him. I remember thinking 'what's he doing? That's been illegal for years'.
"People were surprised but not doing anything before a staff member walked over and grabbed it off him."
The source also revealed that the pair were definitely hidden on purpose to avoid a confrontation with the police.
"It was clear that someone spotted the cops," said the witness.
"A senior staff member came out, said something quickly and motioned for them to follow. They were hiding them in the kitchen."
All Black manager Darren Shand was understandably upset about the allegations.
"They are the ones who are going to face the consequences now because they are going to be known - particularly across the country - as the guys who let the team down," said Shand.
He did, however, say the team had dealt with the matter internally and the players had been disciplined according to team protocols.
"We don't have any policy on smoking or drinking, we just expect them to make good decisions. Clearly there is enough evidence out there from both sides to say they have let themselves down. Cory had better play a blinder."
The All Blacks tackle Argentina at 9h30 (SA time) at Eden Park on Sunday.
15 Mils Muliaina, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Conrad Smith, 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Sonny Bill Williams, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Keven Mealamu, 1 Tony Woodcock
Substitutes: 16 Andrew Hore, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Ali Williams, 19 Victor Vito, 20 Jimmy Cowan, 21 Aaron Cruden, 22 Isaia Toeava
15 Martin Rodriguez, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Marcelo Bosch, 12 Felipe Contepomi (captain), 11 Horacio Agulla, 10 Santiago Fernandez, 9 Nicolas Vergallo, 8 Leonardo Senatore, 7 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 6 Julio Farias Cabello, 5 Patricio Albacete, 4 Manuel Carizza, 3 Juan Figallo, 2 Mario Ledesma, 1 Rodrigo Roncero
Substitutes: 16 Agustin Creevy, 17 Martin Scelzo, 18 Marcos Ayerza, 19 Alejandro Campos, 20 Alfredo Lalanne, 21 Lucas Gonzalez Amorosino, 22 Juan Imhoff