Wal­laby quits af­ter clash with fan

The Southland Times - - Sport -

An emo­tional Lukhan Tui sen­sa­tion­ally told Wal­la­bies team­mates on Satur­day evening he did not want to play foot­ball for the rest of the year af­ter he was in­volved in an ugly al­ter­ca­tion with a fan as tem­pers boiled over fol­low­ing a dis­as­trous Wal­la­bies loss to the Pu­mas on the Gold Coast.

Shortly af­ter full­time in a match Aus­tralia lost 23–19, tele­vi­sion cam­eras showed footage of a fan ver­bally abus­ing Tui and sev­eral other Wal­la­bies play­ers who were still on the ground.

Footage showed Tui and the fan con­fronting each other af­ter the man was un­der­stood to have pushed the Aus­tralian back-rower’s sis­ter in the lead-up to the in­ci­dent.

A Rugby Aus­tralia spokesper­son said the mat­ter was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated and that while po­lice did not ar­rest the man in­volved, his de­tails and an­other fan’s have been taken in the af­ter­math of an al­ter­ca­tion.

Se­cu­rity guards de­tained the two men.

Tui’s step­fa­ther passed away sud­denly on Wed­nes­day and it is un­der­stood he was very close with him.

Af­ter an emo­tional week for Tui, Cheika said his player wanted some time away from the game.

‘‘[It got] to a point where the player is in the dress­ing room [say­ing] he’s not go­ing to be play­ing any­more be­cause of that in­ci­dent,’’ Cheika said. ‘‘I hope the fan is happy.’’

Asked to clar­ify what Tui had said, Cheika replied: ‘‘He’s not go­ing to play and he needs a rest. That’s a pretty heavy thing to hap­pen. He just said it in the dress­ing room to play­ers now off the back of a very dif­fi­cult dress­ing room. It’s not what you want to have.’’

A Wal­la­bies spokesper­son clar­i­fied that Tui asked to have the rest of the year off and it un­der­stood Cheika is try­ing to per­suade him to change his mind.

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