The Press

Police probe junior rugby incident

- MICHAEL HAYWARD

Canterbury police are investigat­ing an allegation of a junior rugby coach grabbing and verbally abusing an opposition player after he allegedly kicked one of her players in the mouth.

West Melton Rugby Football Club coach Amanda Tomlinson allegedly grabbed a Lincoln Rugby Club under-14.5 player after he reportedly kicked one of her under-14.5 players during a July 8 match.

The teenager, who typically made local representa­tive teams, needed emergency dental surgery and was expected to be out for the rest of the season.

A police spokeswoma­n confirmed they were investigat­ing, but said she could not comment further as the inquiry was ongoing.

The incident was also being investigat­ed by the Canterbury Rugby Union (CRU) after Lincoln lodged a complaint.

West Melton had also made a complaint, which was under considerat­ion as it was lodged outside of the 48-hour complaints window.

A CRU spokeswoma­n confirmed a preliminar­y investigat­ion into the incident was under way. The results would determine whether the incident went to a judicial hearing, she said.

West Melton had taken no action against Tomlinson, but she had voluntaril­y withdrawn her applicatio­n to coach an Ellesmere Rugby Sub Union representa­tive team later in the year.

When approached by The Press, Tomlinson said she had been instructed not to comment by a lawyer.

West Melton club president Ants Calder said Tomlinson had been a coach ‘‘for about seven or eight years and we’ve never had an issue with her’’. Calder said she was a ‘‘very skilled and passionate’’ junior coach who had a lot of respect from club parents and players. ‘‘We’ve had players wanting to play in her team, she’s such a good coach.’’

Ellesmere vice-president Chris Thornley said she had been ‘‘impeccable’’ in the few years she had coached for the union.

Lincoln junior advisory board manager Mike Kingston said they put a report in to the CRFU, and he could not say anything until the investigat­ion process was finished. He did not believe the Lincoln player was hurt in the incident.

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