On-field fracas with parents investigated
An under-8s rugby game was called off after parents screamed and swore.
The ‘‘fracas’’ began when a parent tried to intervene in a pitch altercation between children from the opposing teams of Ponsonby and home side Waitemata on May 16.
Waitemata Rugby Football Club chairman Mark Mallabar says the situation then got out of kilter.
‘‘We’ve been in that situation before,’’ he says. ‘‘It was a minor fracas between players. One parent went on to the field, manhandled one of the kids and it escalated from there.
‘‘It’s not a one-off incident. Something like this will occur somewhere in New Zealand over the next week. It could be rugby, netball or any other sport.’’
The match was abandoned six minutes before fulltime.
John Cowan from charity organisation The Parenting Place says incidents like these destroy children’s self-esteem.
‘‘The most powerful coaching case can come from others on the sideline,’’ he says.
‘‘To hear parents abuse another team or the ref is unpleasant but to hear them abuse their own child is heartbreaking,’’ he says.
Auckland Rugby Union received reports from both clubs regarding the incident but no further formal complaints have been made.
In a statement released on Wednesday the ARU says both clubs have recognised the unsatisfactory behaviour displayed and will be addressing the issue internally. It says a strong emphasis is placed on player, coach and spectator behaviour, to create a positive environment on the sidelines.
‘‘We’ll kiss and make up,’’ Mallabar says. ‘‘Both clubs have agreed to write a letter of apology and we’ll go from there.’’
The ARU has met with the clubs to discuss the incident.
Their handling of the situation, Mallabar says, is something that deserves recognition. ‘‘I give credit where it’s due and the ARU spend thousands of dollars improving the sport.’’
ARU Club Rugby manager Lewis McClintock says clubs know what is expected from them.
‘‘The ARU has a code of conduct that is distributed to clubs at senior and junior levels,’’ he says.
‘‘It is mandatory for junior coaches to attend a Small Blacks course – which along with the education on coaching, it also highlights sportsmanship and how to effectively communicate with players. In previous years a video highlighting sideline management and appropriate supporter behaviour has also been shared.’’
Ponsonby Rugby Club chairman Brent Metson could not be reached for comment.
Pakuranga’s Wayne Tomasi dives over the line to score against Ponsonby.