The president of an Auckland rugby club whose players were involved in a large post-match brawl has no plans to stand any players down.
The fight which broke out between Otahuhu Rugby Football Club and Pakuranga United Rugby Club after their game on Saturday afternoon has been dubbed "the worst behaviour" an attending sports photographer has witnessed in a decade.
However, the outcome of a meeting about the incident was held at the Otahuhu club yesterday evening, was that no players would be reprimanded prior to the conclusion of an Auckland Rugby Union investigation.
"I am not going to stand anyone down until the decision from the Auckland Rugby Union," president John Roache said.
"If they find our boys are guilty then they will be banned from our club. But until then, I am not doing anything."
Roache told the Herald that during this meeting his players denied they had started the fight.
They also denied having acted in an overly aggressive way, he said.
"They said it was just a bit of pushing and shoving.
"It is not fair for people to go ahead and say all sorts when they don't know who started the fight."
Roache said the meeting was also attended by the club's coaches and committee members.
The teams were playing in Otahuhu, and photographer Brad James said when it came to shaking hands after the game, a large fight ensued.
"When the teams lined up to shake hands a player from Otahuhu for no apparent reason attacked one of the Pakuranga players," he posted to The Game Photography Facebook page.
"This quickly escalated into a brawl with Pakuranga players fighting off the ensuing attack, the ref and team officials intervened and broke this up.
"As the Pakuranga players moved away towards the change rooms they were once again attacked by the Otahuhu players, with one of the Pakuranga players receiving coward punches to the back of his head."
James said he had spent the past 10 years on the sideline as a photographer and this was the worst behavior he had witnessed to date.
"Players turn up to play rugby, not to be attacked.
"Drastic measures need to be taken as this affects every person involved in rugby in Auckland. This is a bloody disgrace."
James said such incidents were not doing the sport any good.
"It is just not on and is dragging Auckland rugby to the lowest of lows.
"I want to see rugby being played and not this thuggery.
"Is this what rugby is about? When there is so much foul play involved, someone needs to stand up and say something and draw a line."
Roache confirmed he had received a call from the Auckland Rugby Union following the incident. He understood an official complaint had been lodged by Pakuranga with the union.
He was confident the union would look at both sides throughout it investigation into the incident.
An Auckland Rugby Union spokesman said it was aware of the incident. Both clubs had assured the union no players were injured during the incident.
"An investigation will be conducted which will include meeting with club representatives from both clubs as well as a judicial hearing which is facilitated by an experienced and independent judicial panel.
"We are also engaging with club representatives to introduce initiatives and secure their commitment to facilitating safe and enjoyable rugby experiences.
"It is clear from the footage posted that this type of behaviour is unacceptable and has no place within our game or our community."