Sam Warburton has defended Kyle Sinckler following his arrest by New Zealand police by stating the England prop did “absolutely nothing wrong”.
Sinckler was released without charge following an incident in Auckland city centre in the early hours of Sunday morning as the British and Irish Lions tourists celebrated the end of a tour that climaxed in a drawn series against the All Blacks.
The offence was described by police as a “minor disorder” and the Harlequins front-rower later apologised.
But Lions and Wales captain Warburton said: “It looks worse than it is. He was released straight away because they realised straight away there were no problems.
“The Lions went to great lengths to look after the boys on nights out, we had a security team involved. Guys are going to be out there looking to make headlines.
“We had a good couple of days together to finish off the tour. We’d been under the microscope for six to eight weeks so it was nice to have a few days to enjoy each other’s company and reflect on what we’d done.
“In defence of Kyle, he did absolutely nothing wrong. I feel a bit sorry for him, he’s got a bit of press like that, but actually the situation was handled pretty well and Kyle is absolutely fine.”
A captivating series ended in a 1-1 draw after Saturday’s deciding Test at Eden Park finished in 15-15, strengthening the Lions’ position in the rugby calendar.
Four days later Warburton, wheeling the trophy shared with the All Blacks on his luggage trolley as Warren Gatland’s men touched down at Heathrow, could still take pride in the outcome while remaining aware of where the sport’s true power lies.
“In hindsight we’re pretty pleased with what we achieved,” he said.
“Coming into the tour not many people gave us much of a chance, the odds were against us, so to surprise a few people by drawing was good.
“But without doubt New Zealand are the best team in the world. They’re back-to-back world champions. Just because we drew, it doesn’t make us the best.
“They’ve earned the right to call themselves that because they’ve played so well over the last 10 years.”