Ongley Park played host to what on paper appeared to be a normal U-21 colts rugby match between College Old Boys and Whanganui Metro in Palmerston North.
In an incident that had several eye witnesses the fixture descended into chaos as an number of fights broke out.
One such fight led to both spectators, reserves and the players on the pitch piling in.
An unnamed witness said that the Whanganui team had been baiting the College Old Boys throughout the fixture.
It would appear this baiting worked as the officials lost control and the fixture went away from the rugby.
Throughout the fixture it is reported that the Whanganui players were sent back on several occasions for back chatting the referee prior to the brawl.
The witness had the following to say, “It was all over, the players were looking forward to it. We were on the other side of the ground. But on the side of the road [of Ongley Park] were the Whanganui spectators…. From there it all went on.”
“The next moment, spectators and parents rushed on. Then it cooled down and started again.”
The fight went on for a reported 10 minutes, as the witness said. “It wasn’t a flash. It was a fight, side by side, they went for it.”
Whanganui Metro coach Mark Cosford said spectators from their side of the field were not involved and the team had dealt with the incident “in house”.
“We found that improvements are needed.”
This event is a shocking incident for New Zealand Club Rugby and to compound matters it is reported the referees had to continually check that they were not being followed.
College Old Boys went on to win the fixture 37 – 12.
Footage to come…