SBW gives dancers ad­vice

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - KEVIN NORQUAY

All Black Sonny Bill Wil­liams has helped mem­bers of an Auck­land youth dance com­pany turn a neg­a­tive ex­pe­ri­ence into a pos­i­tive one.

The HighJinx per­form­ers, aged 13 to 16, were sub­jected to ‘‘vul­gar’’ sex­ual com­ments when they per­formed at the Kingsland train sta­tion ahead of the first test in Auck­land last month. The girls were asked by some fans to per­form a sex act and give lap dances.

Af­ter they went public with their ex­pe­ri­ences, New Zealand Rugby stepped in and in­vited them to Eden Park for the cap­tain’s run on Fri­day, ahead of Satur­day’s de­cider against the Lions.

Af­ter the train­ing All Blacks mid­field back Ryan Crotty and then Wil­liams stopped by for self­ies, with Wil­liams hand­ing out ad­vice as well.

‘‘We had an awe­some chat with Sonny Bill about strength, and turn­ing bad ex­pe­ri­ences into posi- tive mem­o­ries,’’ troupe di­rec­tor Car­lene Ne­wall De Je­sus said.

Dancers Con­nie, 14, and Ella, 13, who spoke out about the abuse, felt their ac­tions had high­lighted un­ac­cept­able be­hav­iour.

Con­nie said she was thrilled to meet one of her sport­ing he­roes.

‘‘My life is com­plete now, I’ve met Sonny Bill.’’

She ap­plauded New Zealand Rugby for reach­ing out be­cause it high­lighted that the be­hav­iour the girls were sub­jected to was to­tally un­ac­cept­able.

SUP­PLIED

Mem­bers of the HighJinx troupe, who were sex­u­ally ha­rassed by rugby fans, take a selfie with Sonny Bill Wil­liams.

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