5 players banned for life for assault on referee

Five teenage rugby players from the same club have been banned for life for assaulting a referee after a youth game in Auckland.

The referee suffered a broken hand in an assault after the Aug. 6 match between the under-19 teams of the Otahuhu and Te Papapa-Mt Wellington clubs which, news reports said, ended in a melee involving up to 50 people.

Police attended the match and several arrests were made. One person has been charged and a police investigation is continuing.

Auckland Rugby Union chairman Glenn Wahlstrom, said “the judicial committee has given a very strong message and rightly so. Match officials must have the right to be safe in the role they perform without being subjected to the threat or even worse, acts of violence.”