A rugby club is determined to play at their home ground today despite referees refusing to turn up because they fear for their safety.

The Wairarapa Bush Rugby Football Union moved games from Masterton's Jean St ground to Trust House Memorial Park in the wake of alleged abuse of a referee after a senior game last weekend.

Peter Debney, Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Referees Association secretary, said there would be no referees available for a match at Jean St today.

He said there were concerns that because the Jean St ground was owned by Masterton District Council, the Pioneer club would not have jurisdiction to remove spectators.


He said referees would return to officiate at the Pioneer grounds once the safety questions were resolved at the venue.

But the Pioneer Rugby Football Club has vowed to play at their ground. Club spokesman Tere Torea said the senior team involved in the game last weekend would be at their grounds today for a scheduled match against Martinborough, which was to feature the presentation to Pioneer of the Kapene Shield.

The club would call for a full inquiry into the ban, and into reports of the assault on a referee by a spectator at the Greytown club grounds several weeks ago and an assault on a referee at the East Coast club grounds at Whareama.

Mr Torea said Bob Francis, former international referee and member of the 2011 World Cup referee selection panel, had offered to mediate discussion between the Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Referees Association and the Pioneer club.

"We've been told both incidents were witnessed by children and both involved physical assaults on referees.

"There were no assaults at Jean St and yet these other grounds haven't been deemed unsafe," Mr Torea said.