Spectators, students in rugby fight

BLANTON SMITH
Last updated 05:00 27/06/2014

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Investigations are under way into a Taranaki high school rugby brawl at the weekend.

The Taranaki Daily News understands players and spectators were involved in a fight during a game between Waitara High and Hawera High under-15s at Waitara on Saturday.

Senior Sergeant Matt Prendergast said police were investigating an alleged assault by a spectator, connected to the Hawera side, on a Waitara player.

Prendergast said police let referees deal with fights between players but in this case someone who was not playing was believed to be involved.

The Taranaki Rugby Football Union said they were made aware of the incident but no official complaints regarding the alleged fight had been received. "As such [we] will not be taking further action at this stage," chief executive Mike Collins said.

The union had been in contact with the schools and would be meeting the principals today.

Hawera principal Hans Konlechner said the school was talking with those at the game and the staff responsible for the players. "What I understand from the ref's report is that our players handled themselves really well in what was a difficult situation," he said. "Some of the sideline behaviour from both sides left a lot to be desired." Decisions about further action would be made after today's meeting. "If it is found our students were involved, disciplinary action could be taken."

Waitara principal Graeme Hood said he had spoken with Konlechner. "We are certainly having discussions about making amends and moving on," Hood said.

He would not discuss the fight until the facts came out in the union's report.

"We are certainly dealing with it and in due course there may be further action with some students," Hood said.

He had spoken to the players and "did not expect anything similar from them again".

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