No further punishment for fan involved in Tui altercation

The Rugby Championship
Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Rugby Australia won't be taking any further action against a Wallabies fan involved in a post-match altercation with flanker Lukhan Tui on the Gold Coast.

Tui and the man were involved in a push and shove after Australia's 23-19 loss to Argentina, with players and Wallabies staff separating the two before another man took the fan away.

Tui's Reds teammate Samu Kerevi said the altercation was triggered when the man had told Tui to 'play with some heart' after the flanker had heard him swearing around his family and one of his younger sisters was believed to be caught up in some push and shove.

The incident came at a delicate time for Tui, whose stepfather passed away only days before the Wallabies' 23-19 loss to the Pumas.

Wallabies coach Michael Cheika said on Sunday Tui would be unlikely to travel with the squad to South Africa, after initially telling his teammates he was considering taking a break from rugby in the wake of the incident.

Teammates and opponents alike have come out in support of Tui in the days since the Test, after a rollercoaster week for the 21-year-old.

Rugby Australia investigated the scuffle and on Monday released a statement saying Tui had not asked for any more action to be taken against the fan, who was ejected from Cbus Super Stadium at the time.

"This incident was not something you want to see at any sporting event," Rugby AU CEO Raelene Castle said in a statement.

“Emotions were running high after the match on Saturday night and I understand why Wallabies fans are frustrated after a result like that.

“Two fans came into the area where players families were gathered and were arguing and using offensive language in criticising the players over their performance.

"One of Lukhan’s young family members was physically caught up in this exchange and this prompted the reaction from Lukhan."

“Wallabies team management have been in dialogue with Lukhan since the incident and he has indicated that he does not wish to pursue the matter any further and therefore no further action will be taken by Rugby Australia."

The governing body will also be reviewing its security measures around Test matches but Rugby AU CEO Raelene Castle said they wouldn't rush into any drastic changes.

“The interaction between players and fans is an extremely important part of sport and we never want to see an incident like this again. We want Rugby fans to be able to get up close and personal with their heroes and our Wallabies stars.

“We feel that this is an isolated incident and we haven’t experienced anything like this in our game in the past, so we don’t want to race into any hasty measures."