• U-turn as New Zealand teen star axed over assault


    WELLINGTON: New Zealand rugby officials on Tuesday terminated the contract of a teenage star who viciously assaulted four people including two women, following a public outcry after he escaped conviction. After initially supporting winger Losi Filipo, rugby administrators performed a U-turn following a heated reaction that even saw Prime Minister John Key drawn into the debate. Filipo, 18, dodged conviction because a judge said he did not want to derail his career, sparking accusations the court system in rugby-mad New Zealand gives sports stars special treatment. New Zealand Rugby, which was criticized last month over its handling of sexual assault allegations against Waikato Chiefs players, had argued that Filipo was dealt with by the court system and should not be shunned. However, the issue dominated radio phone-ins and Wellington Rugby, which holds Filipo’s contract, had more than 1,000 negative comments on its Facebook page. By early evening it released a statement saying the organisation and Filipo “have mutually agreed to the termination of his contract.”



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