Another World Cup team hit by off-field disruption

James Gordon
New Zealand damage

Photo: Andrew Cornaga /

New Zealand’s preparations for the Women’s Rugby League World Cup were disrupted by an incident at their training facility.

Around half of the team lost their training kit and personal belongings due to smoke damage.

NZRL CEO Greg Peters said: “This was an unfortunate incident but the problem was quickly dealt with and the training ground are in the process of bringing facilities back online. No outdoor facilities have been affected and the staff at the training ground have been exceptional in supporting us.

“In the meantime, our main priority is the Fern’s wellbeing and ensuring the team is supported through this.”

Women’s World Cup gets underway

New Zealand take on France in York in their Women’s World Cup opener on Wednesday November 2.

The incident happened while the Ferns were training outdoors, and were forced to leave behind their belongings and return to the team hotel.

Officials were working out what was lost, and also whether alternative training provision would be needed.

Kiwi Ferns Head Coach Ricky Henry added: “It’s been tough for the girls; some have gone well over 24 hours without being able to contact loved ones, unless through a staff member’s phone.

“Sometimes these freak accidents happen, and this one was out of anyone’s control. NZRL are working to replace the damage, and as a team, we will rally together, support each other and focus on what’s ahead.”

It’s not the first off-field drama that has affected a World Cup nation this tournament.

The Lebanon men’s team were victims of a robbery at their team hotel, losing laptops, electronic devices and even their team jerseys, which were later recovered from a nearby building site.

Ahead of their game with Jamaica in a separate incident, they were confronted by an intruder who was then chased down and apprehended by several players before police arrived.

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