The Losi Filipo assault story has gone global – and New Zealand Rugby is gaining an increasingly bigger black eye as a result of it.
The public outrage over Filipo’s treatment by the judicial system and accusations of the Wellington and New Zealand rugby unions unduly protecting the promising young player has been picked up by some of the world’s leading international news media outlets.
The likes of the Daily Mail website, which has a monthly global audience of more than 200 million readers, and leading Australian media outlet news.com.au have all featured the stories prominently.
The story has also appeared on multiple television networks around the world.
The angles taken by the Daily Mail and news.com.au both led on the increasing pressure coming on NZR boss Steve Tew over rugby’s handling of the affair where Filipo was discharged without a conviction after assaulting four people in a Wellington street last October.
After the story went public, Wellington Rugby came under pressure to sever its playing contract with the teenager. Within 24 hours, it had been announced that Filipo’s contract had been mutually ended.
Under a headline reading “Knives out for NZ Rugby boss over scandals”, the Daily Mail’s opening paragraph read: “New Zealand’s rugby boss Steve Tew faced calls to resign on Wednesday over off-field scandals that have damaged the sport’s reputation in the rugby-mad home of the All Blacks”.
News.com.au ran a similar report under the headline of “Kiwi furore: ‘Rugby’s image is in the gutter’.