Racial abuse alleged

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 12/06/2014

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The Pleasant Point senior rugby side is embroiled in a second case of alleged racial abuse this season.

A Temuka player of Pacific Island origin claims he was twice racially abused during Saturday's game against Point by an opposition player, and the club is deciding what action it will take.

The first instance was in the Pleasant Point 125th celebration game against Mackenzie.

A Pacific Islander playing for Mackenzie was the alleged recipient, and had a heated discussion with a touch judge about the incident as he was being substituted.

The Mackenzie Rugby Club decided not to lodge a formal complaint with the South Canterbury Rugby Union (SCRU) but instead wrote to Pleasant Point, which investigated the matter and, the Herald understands, found there was no case to answer.

A number of senior coaches, who did not want to be identified, are concerned it could turn nasty on the field at some stage if nothing is done to stop the abuse.

SCRU chairman Brent Isbister said there was little the union could do unless a formal complaint was made.

He was unaware of Saturday's allegation but queried whether the comments came from on or off the field.

At the Temuka Domain on Saturday, Isbister went across and spoke to a Pleasant Point supporter, who is understood not to be a member of the club, about his sideline behaviour.

The chairman said the union had not been formally made aware of any inci- dents of racial abuse this season in senior rugby.

Isbister said he had, however, given a senior coach some advice into an alleged racial incident, but nothing further than been received by the SCRU.

"I outlined the formal hearing process, or they could sort it out between the clubs.

"We cannot act on rumour and innuendo," Isbister said.

"We are happy to act if there is a formal complaint and there is a judicial process."

That, of course, needed a threshold of proof, he said.

Isbister was of the understanding that Pleasant Point had dealt with the first incident in-house but was unaware of the outcome, if any.

"We are concerned about any racial abuse happening across rugby," Isbister said.

The only other incident he was aware of was in teenage rugby, where a spectator had written a letter of apology to a club, he said.

He had written to clubs a couple of years ago when some other allegations circulated.

In the Pleasant Point senior side Isbister, who is a member of that club, said it was not widely known there were nine players of Maori descent and one of Pacific Island descent.

Pleasant Point president Paul Ryan had no comment to make on either alleged incident.

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Coach Gavin Miller was also unaware of any incident on Saturday but said they would not condone such an incident under any circumstances.

- The Timaru Herald

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