Stormers facing complaint for verbal heat

PETER LAMPP
Last updated 12:00 08/05/2013

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Angry words from the Stormers directed at an assistant referee during the Super Rugby match at Palmerston North on April 26 are now the subject of an official complaint.

Southern hemisphere rugby body Sanzar has confirmed a judicial officer is considering a complaint of "match-day misconduct" against Stormers' team management.

Manawatu Rugby Union chief executive John Knowles said there had been an incident during the match.

"And the matter was reported through the referees group," he said.

It is understood the assistant referee running the touchline copped verbal heat from members of the Stormers management on the field near their reserves.

They were understood to have been upset with some of the decisions of the refereeing group during the match.

Interviews were done a week ago, including teleconference calls, and Manawatu's referee education officer, Matt Peters, who was on duty on the sideline that night, was part of the process. Peters could not be contacted this morning.

Neither Sanzar nor South Africa's Stormers would say what the complaint related to.

Sanzar stressed it would not comment beyond a two-sentence statement because the matter was before a judicial officer.

The Cape Town-based Stormers beat the Hurricanes 18-16 in the game at FMG Stadium. The statement confirmed an incident involving Stormers officials during the match was the subject of the complaint.

Stormers coach Allister Coetzee, speaking in Afrikaans, was so animated in the coaches' box during the game that spectators in the vicinity often rose to see what the commotion was about.

The roars from Coetzee and his assistants in the box adjacent to the press bench seemed to be a reflection of how desperate they were to win the match.

They were in radio contact with other team officials on the sideline.

From the Hurricanes' point of view, there were two incidents that required clarification - an alleged punch by prop Ben Franks and a possible eye-gouge on flanker Karl Lowe. But that one was dismissed after checking with the player afterwards.

The Stormers are in Sydney to face the Waratahs this weekend. The Hurricanes are in South Africa and next play the Cheetahs.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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