A New Zealand club rugby side has been banned from a sevens competition for the next three years over a “disgusting” attack that hospitalised a rival player.
Marist St Pats were banned from the Ambassador’s Sevens Tournament for the next three years after a disciplinary hearing with the Wellington Rugby Football Union on Tuesday.
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Marist St Pats player Iosefo Aukustino has banned for two years, while Sagele Aukustino got a one-year ban.
Teammate Jeremiah Tuiatua was banned for five matches.
The three players were banned for their part in a brawl that left a Petone player with serious injuries in hospital.
One of the Petone player’s teammates allegedly used his elbow on a St Pats player, sparking an angry response.
The Petone player was then punched and kicked in the head while on the ground after he tried to intervene, reportedly suffering a seizure as a result.
The 18-year-old is said to have suffered a number of fractures around his eye socket, severe swelling and a serious concussion.
Witnesses horrified by ‘disgusting’ on-field attack
“I have never seen anything like this. It was pure thuggery,” one referee told the disciplinary hearing.
Another player told the NZ Herald: “It was the most vicious and dog-pack-mentality act I’ve seen in any game.
“It was honestly the most disgusting thing I’ve ever seen in rugby.”
Matt Evans, CEO of Wellington Rugby, said the union had offered support to the family and clubs involved.
“We strongly condemn any form of violence in our game and are extremely disappointed anytime something like this occurs,” Evans said.
“Our immediate thoughts are with the injured player and ensuring he has the necessary support around him as he recovers from his injuries.”
Another referee told the hearing the shocking scenes had made him consider walking away from the sport.
The three St Pats players were sent off during the match and the club was kicked out of the tournament.
Petone opted not to continue with their remaining matches.
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