A word of warning to people in New Zealand who judge others based on race: don't call D'Arcy Waldegrave unless you're ready to be put in your place.

That's exactly what happened to one particular rugby fan who called into Sportstalk on Newstalk ZB and Radio Sport on Thursday night.

Hosted by D'Arcy Waldegrave, the talkback show was going into the news that former All Blacks captain and Blues head coach Tana Umaga had been demoted to assistant, and would be replaced by Leon MacDonald.

Sportstalk listener Steve called in to comment on the replacement and things escalated quickly.

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"There's a lot of brown players and a lot of white players in the Auckland team, I call them sambos," Steve said during his call.

Waldegrave couldn't believe what he was hearing and tried to stop the listener from going down that dangerous path but there was no stopping Steve.

"You're going down a colour route here that I'm distinctly uncomfortable with," he said.

"The brown players or whatever you wanna call them," interjected Steve, long-time listener, probably last time caller.

"They're players. They're players," replied the radio host.

"How old are you? This is an archaic concept. You cannot tell me that the colour of a person's skin denotes their attitude and how they need to be coached. [...] That is nonsense, Steve. It's insane."

Steve tried to interject but Waldegrave was furious at his comments and wouldn't let go.

"You can't say because they're brown they need to be coached a particular way. You should be ashamed of yourself," the host said.

Leon MacDonald, left, and Tana Umaga during a Blues Super Rugby press conference at Blues headquarters on May 16, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo / File
Leon MacDonald, left, and Tana Umaga during a Blues Super Rugby press conference at Blues headquarters on May 16, 2018 in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo / File

"I grew up with them, mate," Steve replied.

" 'With them.' There you go again!"

Waldegrave called the listener's comments "alarming".

Steve, who thinks "brown" players need to be coached differently, called Waldegrave ignorant.

The host replied, putting an end to the call: "I'm not ignorant, you're a racist. And it's unforgivable. I don't believe you'd ring up a national sports station and you'd say to me that the tone of a person's skin denotes how they should be treated. That is insanity. You should be ashamed of yourself."

After that heated exchange, Waldegrave answered a few calls from listeners who applauded his reaction.