Wed 29 Aug 2012 | 02:47

Ref abuse at NZ schools match

Ref abuse at NZ schools match
Wed 29 Aug 2012 | 02:47

Ref abuse at NZ schools match


Physical abuse of referees and unruly behaviour is not confined to the passions of schools rugby in South Africa. There have been cases in New Zealand as well and in one case the police have become involved.

On this Saturday just gone, a spectator twice punched a referee in the face at the end of a schoolboy rugby match in Auckland. The match was a secondary schools rugby final between Auckland Grammar School and De La Salle College , played at the Tamaki College grounds as part of the championship final for the 2B grade. Auckland Grammar won the match 6-5 and the spectator is said to have been a De La Salle supporter.

The referee, who is 17, blew the final whistle and was walking off when he was hit. It was not the only fighting as some of the beaten De La Salle players attacked  Auckland Grammar players and some De La Salle players attacked their own players in an effort to stop the fighting which also involved De La Salle supporters who ran onto the field.  Some De La Salle supporters blamed the referee for excessive use of the whistle.

The referee has said that he will carry on refereeing. The chairman of Auckland referees, Don Crawford, said that there was zero tolerance to physical or verbal abuse against referees and added: "If there are any incidents we'll take it as far as we can through judicial measures. Whether it be a player or a coach, we'll take it to the police."

The matter is being investigated by the police, the Auckland Rugby Union and the Auckland Rugby Referees' Association who have both had difficulty in establishing the identity of the assailant.

It is not an isolated incident.

On 15 August 2009 pupils from Auckland's Kelston Boys High School and Auckland Grammar School were suspended from playing rugby for up to 14 weeks after a brawl during a rugby semifinal. The fight broke out when the game finished, with Auckland Grammar winning and the final score 20-9.

On 13 August 2011 five Otahuhu Rugby Club players were banned for life after assaulting a referee and breaking his hand at the conclusion of an Under-19 match.

On 25 April 2012: A soccer player punched a volunteer referee Len Gattsche, breaking his jaw in three places, during a soccer match between Manukau City and Tauranga City United.

On 19 May 2012 a parent watching a children's rugby game stormed onto the field and grabbed the referee's throat at an Under-10 rugby match at Papatoetoe Club.

On 30 June 2012, two Porirua men attacked supporters and the coach of the opposing team at an Under-11 rugby match at Porirua Park. Both victims were punched in the head and the game was called off.


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