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Japanese club plunged into scandal over bar incident

By Sam Smith
Taiki Kawai (C) of Hino Red Dolphins celebrates scoring his side's third try during the Top League playoff tournament 2nd round between Toyota Verblitz and Hino Red Dolphins at Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground on April 25, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)

The Japan rugby side Hino Red Dolphins has suspended its operations following a media report that has accused its players of stripping, groping waitresses, and smashing glasses at a bar in southwestern Japan’s Oita.

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The club – which once boasted All Black No.8 Kieran Read among its number – has withdrawn from its upcoming match in Japan’s second division.

The Red Dolphins issued a statement acknowledging the media attention surrounding the scandal and apologized for causing inconvenience and concern. However, the club did not provide any details about the allegations or respond to the claims.

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According to a report in the Bunshun tabloid, the players, who were allegedly drunk, stripped and harassed female waitresses, damaged glasses and equipment at the bar.

The players attempted to avoid punishment by claiming to be from another club. The bar later demanded JPY 3 million ($23,000), and after receiving it, demanded an additional JPY 3 million, leading the players to hire lawyers.

This is not the first time the Red Dolphins have faced controversy regarding their player’s behavior. In 2020, a player from New Zealand was arrested on suspicion of cocaine use, leading the Japan Rugby Football Union to cancel three rounds of matches and commit to educating teams on drug laws.

Hino Red Dolphins forward Joel Everson was arrested after police saw him behaving in an unusual manner in the early hours of the morning in the central Tokyo district Roppongi, an infamous party spot. In a statement on their website at the time, the club wrote of its “apologies for scandals by our members”.

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The suspension of the Red Dolphins’ activities is effective immediately, and it remains uncertain when, or if, the club will resume operations. The incident has sparked widespread concern and criticism, and the club’s management is under pressure to address the allegations and take appropriate action.

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Eabn 8 hours ago
Open-minded Schmidt takes hands-on approach to Australia challenge

Who cares - boring is good when it comes to Media - they don’t bug you as much. While the focus is on the resurrection of the Wallabies, don’t forget the grass roots - Any opportunity you have to visit, train or promote Rugby down here in Melbourne / Regional is pretty much imperative given the current situation with the Rebels. I’m talking about us grass roots clubs and more so, clubs in the West of Melbourne who are being absolutely smashed by Rugby League and who have been contributing directly to the game down here long before the Rebels emerged and no doubt will do so well after they may be gone. All I have heard is all about the elite level, not the grass roots level so while the talk is about “ The Wallabies” and “Super Rugby Pacific” get back to the roots of Union and include us in your plans. So Phil Waugh and those leaders within RugbyAustralia, it’s on you to ensure the bottom feeders, so to speak, are included in all the talk and the funding if you want Union to regain ground and more respect within the Union and also the broader sporting fraternity. Given you have been in Melbourne a number off times over the last month, extending the courtesy of having a meet and greet with Victorian grass root clubs eluded you for some reason. Do we count or matter in RA’s and yours bigger picture?? Ean Drummond - Club Founder/President - Wyndham City Rhinos RUFC Inc. Hoppers Crossing, Melbourne.

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