James Ihaka

James Ihaka is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Stadium pyrotechnics canned after bloody head injury

All Blacks fans will have to settle for fireworks after the whistle in home games for the rest of the season.

The NZRU has canned planned displays against Argentina and South Africa after the pre-kick-off pyrotechnics at Eden Park on Saturday injured three people.

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Union boss Steve Tew said the displays for the All Blacks games against the Pumas in Napier on September 6 and Springboks in Wellington the following week were on hold pending an investigation.

The injured trio were sitting in Eden Park's southwestern stand. One, a woman, was taken to Auckland Hospital with head injuries and spectators took photos of blood trails on the floor of the stand.

Mr Tew approached the other two and invited them on to the field for the presentation of the Bledisloe Cup to All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw.

One man took up the offer with his mates, the other declined.

NZRU spokeswoman Juli Clausen said it was unclear if Mr Tew had been able to contact the woman, who was discharged later on Saturday night.

All Blacks wing Cory Jane told media he heard the fireworks go off but didn't see the aftermath.

"There was a big bang. I was watching the Aussie guys and they started shaking because it was loud."

The display was created by Van Tiel Pyrotechnics, contracted to the NZRU to provide part of its pre-match entertainment.

Owner Dr Martin Van Tiel said the company was extremely distressed by the incident, which was unprecedented in its 20 years.

"We sincerely apologise to the spectators that got hurt. We hope they recover quickly."

He knew something was wrong when the explosions were a lot louder than normal. The company is working with Worksafe New Zealand and the NZRU.

Eden Park Trust Board chief executive David Kennedy said all pyrotechnic displays at the ground were on hold pending the outcome of the investigation.

A spokesman for Worksafe New Zealand said it would be making initial inquiries this week.

- NZ Herald

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