Spectators threatening to rape the children of rugby match officials is one of the sideline behaviours a new campaign aims to stamp out.
Referees say the New Zealand Rugby Union's APPLAUD capaign is a timely reminder for supporters and parents to keep their behaviour on-side.
Stan Hansen spent 26 years as a top Canterbury referee of rugby union, league and touch, but he retired last year after an all-out brawl between players and spectators at an age-16 match.
He said he's seen too many children crying as a result of aggressive spectator behaviours, including referees being spat at, and their tyres punctured.
Mr Hansen said there have even been threats to burn down houses and rape their children.