Irish club rugby champions Terenure have had to abandon one of their three tour matches in Buenos Aires due to some serious allegations.
The Dubliners were due to pay Newman Rugby Club, home of former Argentinean international and Leinster star Felipe Contepomi. Yet, there was a late change to the fixture with Newman being replaced by Club Universitario de Buenos Aires (CUBA).
Unfortunately, the fixture was cancelled just 25 minutes in due to alleged gouging and punching from the CUBA players.
Terenure were leading the match 7 – 0 at the time but it was decided that the match could not continue given the circumstances and spirit in which the game was being played.
Argentina, we are coming 💜✈️🇦🇷. pic.twitter.com/nrRjQy6ko1
— Terenure College RFC (@terenurerugby) July 23, 2023
It is believed that the incident has been reported to both the President of the Argentinean Union president and the Buenos Aires Rugby Union.
Releasing a statement on the incident, Terenure head coach Sean Skehan who was not at the match but was travelling to join the club for the final tour match said, “The respective level of the two teams seems to have been quite disproportionate in terms of quality, with the Terenure team having recently being (sic) crowned as domestic champions of Ireland in May of this year and the side representing CUBA club being predominantly made of 3/4th grade players.
“Physically this resulted in a very unbalanced matchup. The game was ultimately abandoned after about 25 minutes of play with the score 7-0 in Terenure College’s favour.
“The CUBA club XV had approached the match in a manner that totally went against the spirit of the game. Multiple acts of off the ball foul play including punching, attempted gouging and dangerously late and high collisions resulted in significant distress amongst the Terenure playing group. Concerns of the nature of the game were raised with the referee and CUBA club’s coaches, with unsatisfactory responses delivered.
“The Terenure players felt if they had reacted to the many instances of physical provocation, the physical imbalance of the sides which greatly favoured Terenure would have resulted in serious injury being inflicted upon the CUBA club’s players.
“Given this state of affairs and the incredibly chaotic nature of the officiating of the fixture, the Terenure team decided to withdraw from the game. I would like to express my great disappointment as an officer of the club that such a set of circumstances unfolded as they did.
“Touring is an integral part of the game of rugby union, where friendships are born and lifelong memories are made. I do not believe the behaviour exhibited by CUBA club’s players and coaches reflected positively on their club and greatly sullied our touring parties experience of what should have been an excellent occasion.”