All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has clarified his comments about domestic violence, in the wake of his selection of Crusaders wing Sevu Reece for the first time.
In a radio interview, Hansen — a former policeman — attempted to explain the selection but his comments inflamed opponents.
Reece was charged with male assaults female after injuring his partner in a drunken assault last year.
(Domestic violence is) "a big part of our society unfortunately," Hansen told Radio Sport. "So rugby is going to have people within its community that are involved in this.
"And having been a policeman, I've seen plenty of it. And I know it's not just restricted to males assaulting women, women assault males too. It's not a gender thing, it's a New Zealand problem."
Today, a statement was released on Hansen's behalf by New Zealand Rugby, where he clarified his comments.
"Over the last few days it has become clear that my comments have come across to some people as being unsympathetic or minimising how poisonous and harmful domestic violence is for women," Hansen said.
"Nothing could be further from what I intended. I’m glad to have the chance to correct this impression.
"Based on my experiences as a police officer, I get the fact that the vast majority of victims of domestic violence are women and children.
"That’s not in dispute and is plain wrong. As for the other comments I made about Sevu Reece, I stand by them."
Reece was not convicted because the judge who heard his case considered there were mitigating circumstances and a conviction would have a detrimental effect on his professional career.
The then 21-year-old had signed a contract with the Irish club Connacht but the club rescinded the contract because of Reece's court appearance.
He was picked up by the Crusaders and went on to top the Super Rugby try-scoring table, and win the title with his new team.