29 Jun 2015

Investigation continues into school rugby brawl

7:33 pm on 29 June 2015

Police say they have several leads into who may have knocked a 14-year-old boy unconscious in a violent brawl at a seconday school rugby match in Auckland at the weekend.

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The 14-year-old was transferred to Middlemore Hospital with moderate injuries after the brawl on Saturday. Photo: SUPPLIED

More than 40 people, many of them spectators, were involved in the fight at a game between Otahuhu College and Tangaroa College in Otahuhu on Saturday.

The teenager knocked unconscious during the brawl was released from hospital today.

The principals of both schools met with the Auckland Rugby Union and the Auckland Secondary Schools Rugby Union this afternoon.

Auckland Secondary Schools Rugby Union chair Jim Lonergan said the two principals had been talking to the two teams but it was still not entirely clear how the fight started.

He told Checkpoint the person who hit the boy was yet to be identified.

"[We] talked to the police, they still have not identified who the adult was - but it sounds like it was an adult who came on and hit the boy. Detectives are involved in investigating that."

Mr Lonergan said there was a possibility the wrong boy was hit so the adult could be a supporter from either school.

However, Inspector Dave Glossop of the Counties-Manakau Police told Checkpoint the information he had indicated it may have been another teenager.

He said officers have leads into several people who were throwing haymakers and sucker punches.

Police have been urging anyone with video footage of the brawl to come forward.

The Auckland Rugby Union said it was awaiting a report from the referee of the match, and both schools, over the incident and why the match was abandoned.

The report will go to a judicial convenor, who will decide if the matter moves forward to a hearing.

Mr Lonergan said his union would also conduct a full judicial hearing on what occurred

Brawl must be put in context - NZ Rugby

New Zealand Rugby community rugby general manager Brent Anderson said, while the brawl was not a one-off, 3000-plus games were played around the country every weekend.

"You've got to put it in a context of how games, and how many kids are playing, right throughout the country," he said.

"It's probably not confined to just one code. But there's still more work to be done. We've got to make sure people enjoy their rugby, and these sorts of incidents don't make it enjoyable."

Mr Anderson said New Zealand Rugby would be talking to all the groups involved.