Detectives in Auckland were last night investigating an accusation of a " serious nature" against four of the England players currently in New Zealand for the two-Test series against the All Blacks.
The police would not comment on the nature of the complaint and stressed that no individual had been charged, but they confirmed the alleged incident took place in a hotel room after the tourists' defeat in the opening match of the rubber at Eden Park last Saturday.
Noreen Hegarty of the Auckland City police said officers were questioning staff at the waterfront Hilton Hotel, which England used as their base for last weekend's game. She would not reveal the identity of the complainant, adding that unless corroborative evidence came to light, the allegation could end up "going nowhere".
Richard Prescott, the spokesman for the England team, said the tourists were co-operating fully with the police, but refused to comment further. The party left Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand's north island, for Christchurch, situated in the south island, on Sunday and are currently preparing for this weekend's Test at Lancaster Park.