Just five days out from the Northern Regional Māori Rugby Championships the defending U19 Tainui Waka champions have dropped their head coach. The announcement has resulted in nine other players leaving the club.
Former Tainui Waka Murray Sturt says, “Getting the news in front of everybody, I felt disgusted and dishonoured."
Team captain, Creighton Winiata Dunster says, "He's actually done quite a lot for us and to be dumped like that without any question being asked of the players or asking how he felt about it is pretty gut wrenching."
The announcement not only came as a surprise to Sturt but it was delivered in front of the entire team shocking many of his key players.
Dunster will not be returning as captain due to the decision also, "I stand by most of my fellow players and with the decision that Murray makes, I won't be returning to play again for the U19s," he says.
Sturt says, "If I had done something wrong then I would've happily walked away. I haven't done anything wrong."
When Te Kāea approached the Tainui Waka Rugby Board for comment, they told us they were aware of the decision to stand Mr Sturt down as head coach of the U19 team.
But chose not to appear on camera, saying the decision will be reviewed and considered in detail. The board is fully supportive of the decision to stand Mr Sturt down.
This Saturday they were expected to defend their title at the Northern Regional Māori Rugby Championships but now the team is in disarray and the players say unless coach Sturt is reinstated they may reconsider a return.