22 Aug 2009

Rugby brawling risks sponsorship loss

5:58 am on 22 August 2009

Police will consider ending to their sponsorship of Auckland secondary school rugby if on-field violence continues.

A brawl involving abut 50 people at the end of a match between Auckland Grammar School and Kelston Boys High School last weekend resulted in nine students being suspended from playing rugby.

Following a hearing this week, an Auckland Rugby Union disciplinary committee suspended four players from Auckland Grammar for up to six weeks.

Five players from Kelston have been suspended for periods ranging between 10 months and 16 months.

Police spokesperson Jon Neilsen says an email has been sent to the Auckland Rugby Union expressing disappointment at the players' behaviour.

He says if violence continues to happen, police will have to rethink their support.

Mr Neilsen says rugby and policing have discipline, fair play and teamwork in common, but the behaviour of those involved in the brawl goes against that.