Auckland - British
and Irish Lions tour manager John Spencer was shoved and abused in an
Auckland restaurant, the team said on Friday, dismissing it as an
The 69-year-old Spencer, who previously toured New Zealand as a
player with the 1971 Lions, was singled out by a drunken fan while out
dining on Thursday before the first Test against the All Blacks.
Media reports said an "aggressive" man directed abusive language at
Spencer and shoved him. The former England captain pushed the man away
and asked to be left alone.
"I spoke to John. It's an isolated incident. It's a disappointing incident," assistant Lions coach Rob Howley said.
"Since we've been in New Zealand we've had a fantastic welcome.
Unfortunately in sport there's always a minority. It's not the majority.
The experiences we've had in the last six weeks, it's been quite
"It was only last night when we went out... there was a lot of Kiwis
coming on to us, yes there was banter between New Zealand supporters and
our own supporters, and us as well, that's par for the course. But
coming back to John, that's an isolated incident."
Spencer was said to have been at a table with his wife and a family friend at the time.
Police said it appeared to be "an isolated incident involving a
single intoxicated patron" and the Lions had not laid a complaint.