PUBLISHED ON November 14, 2023 12:54 PM By Deepanraj Ganesan
SINGAPORE – The Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) said on Nov 14 that it is looking into an incident that occurred during a recent National Men’s League match between Saints Rugby Football Club and Oldham Rugby, with an official calling their behaviour “inexcusable”.
The teams were playing the opening match of the season at the Saint Andrew’s Village rugby pitch on Nov 11 when the incident happened during the second half.
In video footage posted online, a Saints player wearing jersey No. 27 was seen kicking the shoulder of a motionless Oldham player who, just seconds earlier, had gone down after a clash with a rival player.
Following the kick, players from the two sides were drawn into a skirmish, with the referee issuing red cards to Saints’ No. 27 and Oldham’s No. 14. The latter was seen punching a Saints player in the ribs and shoving another to the ground during the melee.
The Oldham player, who was involved in a testy exchange with an opponent before he was kicked, received medical attention and was stretchered off.
Oldham was leading 25-13 at the time of the incident and the match ended 28-18 in their favour.
A melee ensues after a Saints player kicks an Oldham player in the shoulder as he lay motionless on the pitch. PHOTO: Screengrab/YouTube/cltay2789
Responding to queries from The Straits Times, SRU general manager Sidney Kumar said that the national sports association takes a serious stance on such incidents and that “the case is currently going through our judicial process in line with world rugby processes”.
An independent judiciary board will review the incident in line with the rules and regulations of the tournament, added the organisation on social media.
Declining to name the players in question as the “judicial process is ongoing”, Kumar said: “The appropriate punishment and actions will be issued after the judicial officers review the whole case.
“SRU has reached out to both players in question. Both players are friends off the field and have apologised for the incident.”
The SRU also noted that all the players received medical support and it assured the community that “all parties involved are safe, following recovery protocols, and have reached an amicable resolution to the incident”.
“We encourage the rugby community to maintain the spirit of fair play and respect for opponents on and off the field.”
The incident has been the talk of the town among the fraternity and Kumar noted that, while it may appear to be malicious and unsportsmanlike, it had occurred in the “heat of the moment” although he stressed that SRU does not condone such behaviour.
He added: “Both teams shook hands and clapped each other off after the game and both parties involved have reached out to each other to check on their wellbeing as well as apologise.
“In the heat of the moment, incidents like these, though inexcusable, can happen. What matters is the players are safe, they learn and they move on.”
ST has contacted officials from both teams for comment. The national men’s league, which features six teams, kicked off on Nov 9 and runs till March 9, 2024.
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This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.
This article has been edited for clarity.