19 Sep 2009

School rugby brawl suspensions sharply reduced

5:38 pm on 19 September 2009

An Auckland Rugby Union appeal panel has sharply reduced the penalties imposed on five Kelston Boys High School students after a brawl during a rugby game against Auckland Grammar School.

The boys were originally suspended from playing rugby for periods of up to 16 months, but on the basis of new information coming to light, the suspensions will now range from four to 14 weeks top.

Union spokesperson Stuart Doig says the initial judicial committee hearing understood that the players had finished their 2009 season, but the appeal panel learnt they had other rugby commitments before the end of the year.

'We now have a fair and just result'

John Haigh QC, acting for the school, says the appeal was allowed on the grounds that the sentences were manifestly excessive. 'We now have a fair and just result," he says.

Two other grounds for the appeal - that the disciplinary committee showed bias and exceeded its powers - were withdrawn.

Auckland Grammar players involved in the brawl were suspended for up to seven weeks.