Sophie Ryan

Sophie Ryan is an NZME. News Service reporter.

Abuse from crowd riles rugby fan

Owen Franks of the All Blacks charges forward during the International Test Match between the New Zealand All Blacks and England at Eden Park. Photo / Getty Images
Owen Franks of the All Blacks charges forward during the International Test Match between the New Zealand All Blacks and England at Eden Park. Photo / Getty Images

A life-long rugby fan says she is "completely and utterly ashamed" of some All Blacks supporters after being subjected to abuse at Eden Park on Saturday.

The woman has returned to New Zealand after living in England with her English husband for 40 years, and has sworn to never attend another rugby game at Eden Park after seeing the behaviour around her at the test.

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The couple, who have attended All Blacks tests in Europe and been on a Lions tour of South Africa, have never experienced what she called "downright racist and sexist" remarks to opposition supporters.

Her husband was called a "f****** whingeing Pom", and they left the ground feeling heartbroken by the experience.

Her husband was wearing an England shirt and hat, and was subjected to a torrent of abuse she described as "feral racism" filled with swear-words from some AB supporters.

"In the end, he got really angry and said stuff that he'll regret for a long, long time because he's never been that upset at a rugby match before," she said.

The woman said a young female English supporter sitting near her was near to tears and looked frightened by the abuse.

The complainant acknowledged that foul language would be heard at rugby games, but didn't accept that the language she heard on Saturday night was reasonable.

A spokeswoman for the Eden Park Trust said the matter was being dealt with internally, and security and log reports were being examined into the "unfortunate incident".

Nick Brown, general manager of public affairs for New Zealand Rugby, said the Applaud campaign was launched to tackle anti-social behaviour at rugby games.

"We want fans to cheer loudly for their favourite team and respect their opponents at the same time," he said.

"We are really sorry to hear that this English supporter's experience was spoiled by the behaviour of a few people in a match where the crowd was generally very well behaved."

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