Bernie Fraser talks of 'coconuts' and 'bloody PC'. Photo / Anthony Phelps

A second All Black legend has thrown fuel on the rugby racism fire by claiming Pacific players need things explained with "simple concepts".

Twenty-one test veteran Bernie Fraser's outburst followed Andy Haden's claim that the success of the Crusaders Super 14 franchise was based on their selection of "three darkies, no more".

Fiji-born Fraser said yesterday: "In terms of Pacific Islanders, if you have too many of them, what they need are simple concepts."

He said his conclusions were based on his experience of coaching Fijians.

"If you say something to them they all nod, typical because they're shy they say 'yes, yes, yes' - then they go away and do something totally different. It's a fact."

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres also entered the fray last night and said the episode was more evidence rugby was mired in a racist past.

Canterbury and New Zealand Rugby Union officials have strenuously denied the quota allegations.

Haden is due to meet Sports Minister Murray McCully today to try to defuse the damaging row and its impact on Haden's role as one of six World Cup ambassadors.

McCully said the possibility of Haden apologising was on the agenda. "It is certainly one of the issues for consideration. I don't want to prejudge the discussion but obviously that's one of the topics we will cover."

Haden last night offered a qualified apology for his comments. "I apologise if anyone was offended by my use of the term 'darkies' - it wasn't made with the intention of offending anyone."

But he blamed "PC types" for the criticism he was receiving. "My crime appears to be my age."

All Black and Samoa legend Michael Jones has spoken of his personal offence at Haden's use of the word "darkie".

"It's certainly not a word that should be thrown out on national TV. I think it's totally disrespectful, and a slap in the face."

But Fraser said he had no problems with Haden's use of such language.

"I don't have any problem with the term 'darkie' being used.

"I mean, Christ, when I was playing I was the biggest racist out," he said. "I regard myself as a coconut and I call every other Polynesian a coconut."

He blamed the furore created by Haden's comments on over-sensitivity. "I think we are so bloody PC now it's bloody disgraceful."

Fraser said he heard about a racial quota from a senior figure in the Canterbury union during the Wellington-Canterbury Ranfurly Shield match last August.

He said it was a winning strategy, but stressed the ethnicity rule shouldn't be absolute, pointing to Hurricanes flanker - and law and commerce graduate - Victor Vito.

"If I was a coach with a quota system I wouldn't put him in that category because look, he is a super-sharp dude."

Fraser said there was unlikely to be any hard evidence to support allegations of racial quotas. "You'd be mad to put that in writing, wouldn't you? You'd have the race relations people hunting you."

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