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