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The gloves come off during North Island vs South Island match in New Zealand

BY Grant Constable  ·  Friday Aug 24, 2012

New Zealand’s provincial domestic tournament, the ITM Cup, is underway with a few games already played, and more to come tomorrow. Today we’re having a look at an ugly incident you may not have seen a few months back, during the Super Rugby break.

While the All Black squad was tied up in a series with Ireland, and Super Rugby took a break of a few weeks, a match was arranged to work as a fundraiser for the cash-strapped Otago Rugby Union, featuring a North Island side against a South Island side.

The last time a match of this nature took place was in 1995, also in Dunedin, but on this occasion the support for the game wasn’t quite as positive, particularly with it’s reasoning. Whatever the case, it was an enjoyable game of rugby that 7427 fans watched live at the Forsyth Barr Stadium.

The South team won 32-24 but unfortunately the game was marred by a scrap shortly before halftime, after Brendon Leonard dumped Jason Rutledge to the floor with a bit of a tip tackle.

Dane Coles and Kendrick Lynn sparked off, and several players were involed in the fracas, including Blues lock Filo Paulo, who punched a Tom Donnelly on the floor.

Four players were later cited, including Leonard for his tackle, and Coles for his involvement in it. Coles was also cited for striking, while Lynn and Paulo were cited for retaliating.

Paulo was suspended for the remainder of his Super Rugby season with the Blues, a five week ban. The other three players were cleared, while Leonard was cautioned about his tackling technique.

Paulo reportedly apologised to Donnelly after the match, lowering the original sanction (8 weeks).

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