All Blacks drop Cruden after drinking session
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Flyhalf Aaron Cruden was dropped from the All Blacks squad for the last two rounds of the Rugby Championship after missing the team’s flight to Argentina because of a late-night drinking session.
The All Blacks were due to fly to Argentina on Saturday but were delayed by a day when their flight was canceled. Cruden was photographed on Saturday night drinking with teammates at an Auckland pub called the Zookeeper’s Son.
“We didn’t have a curfew,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said. “He was out drinking and he didn’t get (to the airport) in time.
“It’s obviously disappointing and out of character. He’s extremely disappointed in himself. He understands there has to be a consequence for his actions.”
The All Blacks, who are currently unbeaten in the Rugby Championship, are due to play Argentina next Saturday and South Africa in Johannesburg a week later as they close in on a third straight title.
Cruden was New Zealand’s first choice at No. 10 in the absence of the injured Dan Carter. Beauden Barrett is likely to start at flyhalf in the next two tests, with Colin Slade on the bench.
Carter is recovering from a broken leg and there is a small possibility he will be fit for the test against South Africa in two weeks.
The All Blacks then play Australia in a third Bledisloe Cup test in Brisbane. Hansen said Cruden would be considered for that match.