28 Jul 2015

Search on after Fijian rugby player racially abused

11:43 am on 28 July 2015

The Canterbury Rugby Union says it is committed to tracking down those who racially taunted a Fijian rugby player on Sunday.

Sake Aca

Sake Aca Photo: Facebook

Christchurch Club player Sake Aca asked to be taken off the field during the senior club final at Lincoln University, after he was the target of racial taunts.

The Canterbury Rugby union said they were working with Lincoln University to track down those who were firing the racial taunts.

The union's general manager of community rugby, Tim Gilkison, said they were taking the abuse very seriously.

"It got to the point where Mr Aca asked to be subbed off as he couldn't continue anymore, this is not good enough."

"It was pretty clear what was said, it is not worth repeating."

Mr Gilkison said the abuse was a blight on rugby, which was about camaraderie and bringing people from all backgrounds together.

"If we find out it was members of the university's club they will suffer disciplinary action, but if they were members of the public a complaint will be made to the police."

He urged anyone who witnessed the abuse or could identify the people involved to come forward.

"The university is speaking to some of the supporters this afternoon to try and get to the bottom of this."

It is not the first time rugby players have been the target of racial abuse, in May this year another Fijian player in Christchurch, Peni Manumanuniliwa, spoke out about the abuse he suffered on a weekly basis.

At the time, Mr Manumanuniliwa, who has played 100 games for Southbridge, said he and his team had had enough of comments from the sideline.

Mr Manumanuniliwa said he did not expect to encounter this sort of treatment when he decided to move to New Zealand.

He said it was hard on his wife hearing the remarks and he wondered how those making them would react if they were on the receiving end.