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News

Chris Cairns assaulted outside Durban nightclub

The allrounder was hit on the back of his head, fell to the ground and suffered a cut lip

Lynn McConnell
21-Feb-2003
The curse of Durban has struck another New Zealand sports team with cricketer Chris Cairns felled by a king hit outside a night club in the early hours of yesterday morning (South African time).
Cairns was with a group of nine players, support staff and New Zealand Press Association journalist Mark Geenty at the same venue.
Cairns was hit, without warning, on the back of the head. When collapsing to the footpath, he was assisted by fellow players and four security guards who have been with the players throughout the World Cup campaign.
Cairns, one of the world's leading all-rounders who is making a comeback after being off the scene for 12 months due to surgery on his knee, suffered only a cut lip in the incident.
According to an NZPA report the players, who included Cairns, captain Stephen Fleming, Craig McMillan, Andre Adams, Scott Styris, Daniel Vettori, Brendon McCullum, Jacob Oram and Kyle Mills were leaving the nightclub when members of a crowd outside wanted to know if they were New Zealanders.
When Cairns was hit a scuffle broke out. The New Zealanders were quick to help Cairns out.
"It was pretty tense. We were told to get out of there - we went," said Geenty who escaped with the players in the two cars.
New Zealand had been in Durban while they awaited the outcome of the International Cricket Council hearing into the application to have their match with Kenya transferred to South Africa.
The ICC ruled yesterday that the match had to be played in Nairobi and because New Zealand said they would not play there the four points for the match have gone to Kenya.
Several incidents involving New Zealand rugby teams have happened in Durban, the most recent being a scuffle in a nightclub involving several members of the New Zealand Under-19 rugby team who had been in South Africa for their World Cup.
The New Zealanders had been given permission by manager Jeff Crowe to have a night out and he knew the security guards would be accompanying them.
Not all the players left at the same time, and those players inside, who were unaware of what happened, had been told immediately by the security guards to get out of the club.
The players were dressed casually and it was not immediately clear to the public that they were members of the side who had beaten South Africa earlier in the week to make life very difficult for the home team's bid to go further in the Cup.
The incident has not been reported to the police.