The security guard who made a "king hit" tackle on a streaker at an All Blacks game should have been playing for his home club but needed the extra money, his coach says.
Brad Hemopo, who is part of Canterbury rugby's ITM Cup wider training squad, was working security at Forsyth Barr stadium on Saturday when a streaker entered the field at the 62nd minute.
He took the nude man, Christchurch's Adam Holtslag, in a surprise tackle from behind, snapping his head back violently.
However, his High School Old Boy's club coach Joe Gee said not only was the tackle out of character for the player but he was rostered on to play for the team on the day.
"He is not an aggressive person . . . he is not the sort of person that does that but in the heat of the moment and being paid to do a job."
Gee said, being a student, Hemopo needed the extra money. He thought his starting number 8 Hemopo would be remorseful at the tackle.
Hemopo studies at the University of Canterbury and would be on the starting roster for High School Old Boys next week.
Canterbury Rugby communications manager Juliet Calder said the organisation had no comment to make on the tackle.
In a statement released this afternoon Dunedin Venues Management Limited (DVML) chief executive Terry Davies said Hemopo, who was employed by the company, acted appropriately in removing Holtslag from the pitch quickly.
"Any potential threat, especially when in close proximity to players must be dealt with.
"It is disappointing when an individual chooses to invade the pitch during a great game of rugby that was being enjoyed by a sell-out crowd."
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said he was disappointed that one fan chose to mar the night. "Our fans enjoyed a great live rugby experience in magnificent conditions at Forsyth Barr Stadium so it was a shame to see this happen."
Video of the tackle has caused divided opinion among online commentators. Some said the pitch invader was ''destroyed'' or ''hammered'' while others called the tackle ''over the top'' and a ''king hit''.
John Warren Harsh said on Facebook that the tackle ''could have seriously injured the guy, who, whilst he shouldn't have been doing what he was, didn't deserve that treatment''.
Mark Dewsbery said the country was becoming ''soft''.'
'Why do so many defend the idiot? He knew before he ran out there it was wrong. If he broke his neck it's his own fault.''
Canterbury's 28-man ITM Cup squad was named earlier this week.
Canterbury head coach Scott Robertson was hesitant to speak about the incident, having only just seen footage of the tackle.
When asked if the security guard was part of his wider training squad, he said: ''It's all online.''
Robertson declined to comment about the nature of the tackle.
Sergeant Reece Munro of Dunedin police said a 28-year-old Christchurch man "under the influence of alcohol" was taken into custody after the incident before being released early on Sunday morning.
Adam Holtslag was charged with offensive behaviour which has a maximum penalty of $1000. He will appear in the Dunedin District Court on Wednesday.
- The Southland Times
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