SINGAPORE: The Singapore Rugby Union (SRU) has handed match suspensions to players involved in a fight incident during a National Men’s League match between Saints Rugby Football Club and Oldham Rugby at the Saints Andrew’s Village rugby pitch on Nov 11. In a statement issued on Dec 1, SRU explained that it takes a ‘very serious view of the incident’ and has taken immediate steps to ensure that those involved will be dealt with in accordance with the applicable rules and regulations.

In a video circulating online, a Saints player wearing jersey number 27 was seen swinging his leg violently towards the shoulder of an Oldham player lying on the ground. An Oldham player, number 14, could be seen throwing his fist forcefully to a Saints player’s ribs and shoving another player to the ground from the chaos. He was later restrained by his teammate and pulled to the side.

Photo: Youtube screengrab / cltay2789

Although SRU did not mention the names of the players that were handed the match bans and the length of their suspensions in their statements, during the match, the referee sent off two players: Saints number 27 and Oldham number 14. However, some felt that SRU could have imposed a harsher punishment to send a strong signal to the players and deter future incidents.

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Photo: Youtube screengrab / cltay2789

“Purposefully kicking a player while they are down and unconscious should be a life ban. This is just pure aggression and a truly disgraceful display of a complete lack of sportsmanship. Get off the field and the team. Send a clear message,” commented Kris Adelle on SRU’s Facebook page.

“Regardless of mitigating factors, you kick a guy in the head while on the ground, surely it’s a year or two if not life ban?” mentioned Callum Finlay.

Finlay was later corrected by another social media user, James Hajime who said, “just to clear up it was a kick to the shoulder. Not that that makes it look much better.”

The SRU announced that the case had been referred to a Disciplinary Tribunal, chaired by Paul Sandhosham, SRU’s Chair of the Legal (Disciplinary and Appeals) Commission, and comprising two judicial officers: Wang Shao Ing and Michael Pringle. This tribunal was tasked with determining the offenses committed and imposing appropriate punishments on the players involved in the incident.

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“Following the hearing, the Disciplinary Tribunal issued its decision in relations to the red cards issued to the two players taking into account the World Rugby framework for such offences. Under the framework, there is scope for the panel to take mitigating factors into account and after applications, both players were accorded match bans relative to their offence and mitigating factors applied,” said SRU in their statement on Dec 1.

“In addition to the prescribed match bans, the SRU is working with the related clubs on restorative practices to ensure that those concerned understand the severity of how their actions have brought the game into disrepute,” added SRU.

This incident occurred while Oldham was leading 25-13, and they went on to win the match 28-18. Both teams needed to move past the incident and refocus on their upcoming SRU National Men’s League matches. Oldham was soundly defeated 69-0 in their following match against the Singapore Cricket Club on Nov 18 at Padang. The Saints, on the other hand, suffered a loss of 13-29 against the Bucks on Nov 25 but finally secured their first win of the season with a 41-21 victory over the SCC Tankards on Dec 2.

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The Saint’s next league match will be against Wanderers on Dec 9 at the Yio Chu Kang Stadium at 9am, while Oldham will be back on the pitch on Dec 16 at 5pm against Bedok Kings at the same stadium.