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Cairns slot not in jeopardy

Johannesburg: Chris Cairns emerged from the hangover of his brawl shame with his place in the World Cup team seemingly assured.

“The internal inquiry by team manager Jeff Crowe should be concluded early next week,” said a team spokesman. “But as far as I am aware there is no disciplinary action planned against Cairns and he remains available for selection for the game with Bangladesh.”

Cairns refused to discuss the Durban incident with reporters.

The row intensified today when it was claimed that the fracas which left Cairns injured was sparked by a rendition of the traditional haka war cry. 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.

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 and Brendon McCullum were Saturday sporting facial cuts and abrasions from the late-night fracas after several members of the Black Caps were asked to leave the “Tiger, Tiger” nightclub.

Cairns was hit without warning on the back of the head and collapsed on the pavement while some of the players were abused by a crowd still simmering with resentment at the Black Caps’ victory over South Africa last Sunday.

Team manager Jeff Crowe refused to lodge a formal police report. “The incident happened outside the nightclub,” a statement from NZC quoted Crowe as saying. “Cairns had been asked to leave by bar staff after reported loud behaviour by several members of the team. I have been advised by the police that the incident was unprovoked and was not related to any issue between Cairns and the person who assaulted him.”

The club manager, Guy Van der Post said: “Chris wasn’t aggressive. When I spoke to him he was just very drunk.”

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