‘N’ word and alcohol spark rugby brawl

The ‘N’ word, repeated vile racist slurs and brawl, were the sad culmination of a club rugby match between Marist St Pats (MSP), and Old Boys’ University (OBU) at Wellington College last weekend.

MSP is Wellington’s Catholic rugby club.

Speaking with RNZ’s Lisa Owen, MSP Chairman Rob Evans reluctantly confirmed the ‘n…..’ word had been used

He told Owen that after OBU scored the final try of the game, some spectators who were drinking alcohol on the sideline, rushed onto the field before the full-time whistle and yelled “vile racial slurs”.

Evans told Owen there is no room for racism in sport nor in society, and the same goes for violence.

He said he was surprised about the drinking at the game, and more so because it was a school ground.

RNZ reports the father of an OBU rugby player was attacked by MSP players in response to “repeated vile racial slurs”.

“It is clear some of our players became upset following repeated, vile racial slurs and the attack on the father of one of our players by an intoxicated group of OBU supporters.

“Just as violence cannot be tolerated, the kind of racial abuse witnessed on Saturday has no place in our game or society,” Rob Evans said.

MSP did not condone violence of any kind and the club met players on Monday to “get to the bottom of the facts”, he said.

OBU chairman Pete McFarlane would not be interviewed by RNZ over the matter but said in a statement that his club was investigating an incident.

“It is important to note that there are no allegations against any OBU players, management or coaches from the match and from what I have seen they conducted themselves admirably given the circumstances,” McFarlane said in the statement.

Wellington Rugby is investigating the incident.

Its chief executive Matt Evans​​ says staff were rewatching video footage of the game to work out exactly what had happened.

Parts of the altercation were caught on match video, but apparently, the racial abuse was not available.

However, Rob Evans confirmed to RNZ’s Lisa Owen that he had a number of witness statements.

Wellington Rugby says the union will discipline those involved as soon as possible.

Chief Executive Matt Evans sees the incident as “a cloud hanging over rugby.”

In 2017 Rugby NZ released the results of a “culture review” acknowledging that entitlement and alcohol were a part of rugby’s culture.


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