West Coast rugby team default match over racism row

By Bernard Orsman

A club spokesman confirmed today's action as a stand against the region's rugby union. Photo / Getty Images
A club spokesman confirmed today's action as a stand against the region's rugby union. Photo / Getty Images

A rugby club is defaulting on a match today to protest against the West Coast Rugby Union failing to act on complaints about alleged racial abuse.

The South Westland Stags Rugby Club senior team has called off its match with Hokitika club Kiwi.

The issue relates on-field incidents during a match with Kiwi about two months ago.

A club spokesman confirmed today's action as a stand against the region's rugby union.

The spokesman did not want to discuss details of the allegations, saying a meeting had been organised for Tuesday with the West Coast Rugby Union.

"It's taking time to work through the process and we are hoping for a resolution," said the spokesman, who did not want to be named.

West Coast Rugby Union chief executive Mike Connors could not be reached for comment.

Connors told One News in May that racism was "something we just don't condone and we won't tolerate it".

With nobody named in the complaints, it would be difficult to hold a judicial process, he said.

The South Westland club a message to its supporters and fans on its Facebook page yesterday saying "due to the amount of talk surrounding our decision to default to Kiwi this weekend we now believe that this is our best policy to make a stand, after the West Coast Union failed to do so".

"I'm sure those who attended the previous game will agree when we say; It was disgraceful and we don't want to expose our players, future players, supporters and club members to that sort of behaviour again.

"We are now moving on to focus on our home semi-final in Hari Hari on Saturday 16th July. With this in mind, we are having a full training run tomorrow (Saturday 9th) starting 1.30pm. All supporters and members are welcome to attend."

The Westland Stags Rugby Union stretches from Ross to Haast on the West Coast.

- NZ Herald

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