Tui walks away af­ter fan fra­cas

The West Australian - - SPORT - Jim Tucker Gold Coast

An emo­tional Lukhan Tui has told Wal­la­bies team­mates he will take a break from rugby for the rest of the year af­ter the ugly fan act that poured pain on a fam­ily tragedy.

A frus­trated, shout­ing fan grap­pled with Tui in a sour post­script to Satur­day night’s bun­gled Test against Ar­gentina on the Gold Coast.

The shaven-headed fan in a gold Wal­la­bies jer­sey was shout­ing and point­ing his fin­ger from seats just be­yond the side­line fence at Cbus Sta­dium af­ter ruf­fling other spec­ta­tors.

The irate sup­porter bumped Tui’s younger sis­ter, who started cry­ing. Tui stepped for­ward and copped a spray from the fan.

Back-rower Tui and the dis­grun­tled spec­ta­tor had a hand­ful of each other’s cloth­ing as ten­sions over­flowed be­fore calmer fans, team­mate Pete Samu and a Wal­la­bies staffer set­tled the heated mo­ment.

Rugby Aus­tralia has re­quested the footage screened on Fox Sports and se­cu­rity has pin­pointed two of­fend­ing fans.

A re­port will be filed to as­sess fur­ther ac­tion.

Stunned by the in­ci­dent, Tui was close to tears.

His step­fa­ther died sud­denly last week and the play­ers wore black arm­bands in a show of re­spect.

Tui ad­dressed his team­mates in the wake of the 23-19 de­feat and told them of his in­ten­tions to step away for the re­main­der of 2018.

“It’s one thing be­ing up­set with a team. I think what went down there was a sup­porter pushed Lukhan’s sis­ter,” coach Michael Cheika said.

“Ob­vi­ously that fam­ily has had a big week and I don’t think it’s ap­pro­pri­ate what hap­pened.

“I get that dis­con­tent. You own that. Even abuse that comes some­times, you’ve got to suck it up when you don’t play well.

“His younger sis­ter was pushed. Lukhan didn’t like that and that’s fair enough with ev­ery­thing that’s hap­pened this week. To the point, the player has said he’s not go­ing to be play­ing any more be­cause of that in­ci­dent.

“I hope the fan is happy. Things get per­sonal and some­times peo­ple don’t un­der­stand the back story.

“The fan is not to know it’s Lukhan’s sis­ter, but you shouldn’t be push­ing a kid in the crowd any­way.”

Is­rael Fo­lau’s de­ci­sion not to pass to an un­marked Bernard Fo­ley at full-time was in­ex­pli­ca­ble and summed up what has been a mis­er­able sea­son for the Wal­la­bies.

“We had plenty of op­por­tu­ni­ties that weren’t taken and that last play sort of summed it all up,” Cheika said.

“I think we just didn’t have enough en­ergy in key mo­ments be­cause there were so many op­por­tu­ni­ties in at­tack and de­fence.”

His younger sis­ter was pushed. Lukhan didn’t like that ...

Pic­ture: Al­bert Perez/Getty Im­ages

Lukhan Tui is tak­ing a break from rugby af­ter he was in­volved in a row with an irate fan on Satur­day night.

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