SANZAR investigate Perth 'idiots'

Mon, 15 Apr 2013 12:09
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SANZAR will formally investigate the pitch invasion that marred the Western Force's 16-14 win over the Crusaders in Perth at the weekend.

SANZAR will formally investigate the pitch invasion that marred the Western Force's 16-14 win over the Crusaders in Perth at the weekend.

Greg Peters, the SANZAR CEO, confirmed to this website that they had received a complaint from the Crusaders over the incident - which the New Zealand team felt disrupted an attempted comeback late in the game.

"We have received a letter of complaint from the Crusaders, but were already investigating the incidents," Peters told this website in an interview on Monday.

"We have called for a full report from the Western Force as match managers for the game," he added.

The SANZAR boss said they will take steps to avoid a repeat of the unruly behaviour.

"The behaviour of a few idiots in an otherwise good crowd was totally inappropriate and unacceptable," Peters told this website.

"We will be insisting that additional measures are put in place to as much as is possible ensure there are no repeats of this."

Crusaders Chief Executive Hamish Riach felt the match was disrupted in an "untimely manner".

The Kiwis are fuming, because the pitch-invasions by five spectators late in the second half resulted in a promising counter-attack - in which the Crusaders had an overlap - being abandoned.

Forwards coach Dave Hewett and midfielder Ryan Crotty assisted in bringing the situation under control, with Crotty pulling of a bone-crunching tackle on one of the intruders.

Five men were taken into custody following the incident.

Riach said his chief concern was player safety, which was why his franchise lodged a formal complaint.

"It's a massive issue around player safety and the professionalism and sanctity of the event," Riach told NZ Newswire.

"[It was] disgraceful and unacceptable in our view and needs investigating.

"To have four or five people on the ground and to have security staff unable to manage it, is the issue."

Riach was incredulous that Crusaders back Ryan Crotty and assistant coach Dave Hewitt - a former All Black prop - had to deal with two of the invaders rather than ground security.

Riach said matchday security was an ongoing issue for every franchise.

He said security staff numbers needed to be sufficient and the personnel fully trained and competent.

"In this instance, it was a complete failure, that's what needs investigating."

To compound the Crusaders' misery openside flank Christie will be unavailable for around three weeks with a rib injury.

Coach Todd Blackadder was also forced to dump promising lock Dominic Bird for breaking team discipline.

Bird was replaced by Tom Donnelly in the starting side and Sam Whitelock, who was supposed to rest ahead of this coming Saturday's match against the Highlanders, joined the bench.

Blackadder said Bird's refused to make public his indiscretion.

"That was internal discipline. He broke a few internal disciplines and they have been dealt with. I can't really add anymore to that. It's a lesson for the young man."

This followed last week's setback when playmaker Dan Carter had to return home after just one day, having missed the two-match trip to South Africa to attend the birth of his first child.

Carter suffered a hamstring strain in training last Tuesday and Blackadder confirmed to Fairfax NZ that the veteran All Black is still "two to three weeks" away from starting.

No.8 Kieran Read is "no chance" of playing against the Highlanders, because of the toe injury he collected against the Kings on March 23.

Utility back Tom Taylor should be fit after missing five rounds because of a knee injury.

rugby365 & Fairfax NZ News

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