Johannesburg: The nightclub row involving New Zealand's World Cup squad which injured star player Chris Cairns was sparked by a rendition of the traditional 'haka' war cry, a newspaper reported on Saturday. Cairns was knocked to the ground and suffered a cut on the mouth after being punched from behind following a scrap at the "Tiger, Tiger" nightclub in Durban in the early hours of Friday.
The Johannesburg-based 'Star' newspaper quoted witnesses as saying Cairns and a few other players removed their shirts and thundered out the All Blacks' famous rugby war cry. Club owner Guy van der Post, who ordered the players out of the premises, said they were drunk, the newspaper said. Some of the guests at the club took offence to the performance of the 'Haka' and insulted the Kiwis when they went out of the premises, the report added.
New Zealand had left South African cricket fans in a state of shock when it defeated Shaun Pollock's home team at the Wanderers on Sunday. The newspaper quoted a police source as saying the man who hit Cairns was a known troublemaker and had been banned from other clubs in Durban. Armed security guards, employed by World Cup organisers to protect the team, rushed the players back to their beachside Durban hotel.
Cairns did not accompany the rest of the New Zealand players, who flew in to Johannesburg later on Friday on their way to Kimberley where they take on Bangladesh on Wednesday. A team official said Cairns had stayed back in Durban for "business reasons". Copyright AFP 2001