On-field fra­cas with par­ents in­ves­ti­gated

Auckland City Harbour News - - SPORT - By ALAS­TAIR LYNN

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.

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