Hammett defends decision to play Savea

TOBY ROBSON
Last updated 17:09 22/04/2013
Mark Hammett
Getty Images
MARK HAMMETT: "There was a lot of consultation, with Julian and myself, and other parties. We'd never play someone if it was going to effect the individual or the team."
Julian Savea arrives at court
PHIL REID/Fairfax NZ
ARRIVAL: Julian Savea at Wellington District Court.
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Hurricanes coach Mark Hammett has defended the decision to play wing Julian Savea against the Force on Friday.

The Hurricanes have been under fire from some quarters for allowing the All Black to play the match despite knowing he was facing a common assault charge.

Hammett revealed today he had found out about Savea's off field troubles on the Monday before the team's last Super Rugby match.

"The first thoughts were to find out the facts mate," Hammett said when asked what his initial reaction had been.

"There was a lot of consultation, with Julian and myself, and other parties. We'd never play someone if it was going to effect the individual or the team."

Hammett rejected the assertion that Savea's patchy performance had been a result of the stress he'd been under following an incident involving his partner Dawn Rodgers on April 15.

"Players have up and down games all the time, so I'd say no."

Savea appeared in Wellington District Court today, but though he did visit and talk to his teammates at their Newtown training base he did not take part in training.

"We've met [as a team] and we have talked. Obviously there's a lot of privacy surrounding it and a lot of things we can't comment on," Hammett said.

He would not say whether Savea would be selected to play the Stormers in Palmerston North on Friday, but the situation has clearly taken on a new light since the decision was made to play the wing last week.

"Of course he has been [shaken], that was obvious last night you guys would have seen that in the media. Of course he's shaken by it," Hammett said.

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