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Handbag altercation investigated

Published: 12:41PM Monday May 29, 2006 Source: One News/RNZ

Over-zealous use of a handbag is at the centre of a Hurricanes investigation, after Tana Umaga slapped team mate Chris Masoe with a woman's handbag in a Christchurch bar after Saturday night's Super 14 final. 

Hurricanes chief executive Malcolm Holmes says there was initially an altercation between Masoe and a male patron at the bar when Masoe tripped over the man's foot.  Holmes says Umaga intervened, taking Masoe aside and subsequently hitting him with a handbag that belonged to a woman standing nearby. Her cellphone, which was in the bag, was broken.

Masoe reportedly then began crying, but Holmes will not confirm that or say why Umaga used a handbag as he is bound by a confidentiality clause under the players' contracts. 

Holmes says both players apologise for the incident and regret that it happened. 

The Hurricanes management expect to complete their report on the matter and pass it to the NZ union on Tuesday. It will then be up to the NZRU to decide what action if any to take. 

Meanwhile, around 1,000 Crusaders fans turned out in Christchurch on Monday to celebrate the weekend victory over the Hurricanes in the inaugural Rugby Super 14 final. 

Speaking at the civic ceremony in Cathedral Square, Crusaders captain Ritchie McCaw said his team is grateful for the support from loyal fans. McCaw and the Crusader's star first five eighth Daniel Carter were the crowd favourites, signing scores of autographs.