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NZ coach resigns as home World Cup looms

Long-serving New Zealand women’s rugby team coach Glenn Moore has stepped down, saying he does not agree with “misleading allegations” made against him by a player, which sparked a review into the team’s culture.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) boss Mark Robinson apologised to the country’s elite women players this week after the review found the governing body had failed to sufficiently support the women’s high-performance program.

The review was triggered after national team hooker Te Kura Ngata-Aerengamate said on social media in December that she had suffered a mental breakdown after alleged critical comments from Moore.

NZR boss Robinson had backed Moore to continue as head coach through the World Cup starting in New Zealand in October, but Moore said he felt the review remained a distraction.

“I remain concerned that the prolonged Cultural & Environmental Review continues to be distracting at a time when all focus needs to be on maximising performance,” Moore said in a statement cited by local media.

“I feel it is in the best interests of the team that I step down.”

Ngata-Aerengamate’s post came after the world champion Black Ferns lost four Tests in a row against England and France on tour in November. The team had been out of internationals more than two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I did not agree with the allegations she made, and they were misleading. The post provided no context and unfairly and inaccurately represented me as a coach and a person,” Moore said.

“My values and beliefs were called into question, and it was very disappointing not only to me but also to my family,” he added.

Moore became coach of the Black Ferns in 2015 and helped them win the World Cup in 2017.

NZR said a further update on the team’s coaching structure will be provided next week.

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