All Black Cruden Dropped for Missing Flight After Drinking

New Zealand dropped fly-half Aaron Cruden for the final two games of the Rugby Championship after he stayed out late drinking and missed the All Blacks’ flight to Argentina.

Cruden will miss the Sept. 27 game in La Plata and the clash with South Africa in Johannesburg on Oct. 4, All Blacks management said in a post on the team’s twitter page. The player described his actions as “unacceptable” and apologized to the team, his family and the public.

“I made a poor decision regarding the limits of my alcohol intake,” Cruden said in a statement published on the All Blacks’ website. “I carry the burden of shame and disappointment and I am deeply apologetic.”

Cruden has played 35 times for the No. 1 ranked All Blacks since his debut in 2010, scoring 256 points. He has been preferred to Beauden Barrett at fly-half in three of the four Rugby Championship tests this year, with record points scorer Dan Carter out of the team recovering from a broken leg.

The All Blacks are unbeaten in the four-nation competition, which also includes Australia.

“We are extremely disappointed at Aaron’s actions, which are out of character,” coach Steve Hansen said in the twitter message. “He is embarrassed at his actions.”

Several All Blacks visited an Auckland bar on Sept. 20 after their flight to Argentina was delayed till the following morning, according to Fairfax Media. Cruden chose to stay at the bar when his teammates left and didn’t make the flight, according to the report.

“He was out drinking and he didn’t get there in time,” Hansen told reporters after the team arrived in Argentina, according to Fairfax.

Cruden said he was “devastated” he had dropped his personal standards and those set by New Zealand Rugby, adding he will accept any other disciplinary action imposed.

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