Super Rugby round nine
Crusaders complain about crowd invasion
April 15, 2013
Security at nib Stadium removes one of five pitch invaders during the Force's home match against the Crusaders © Getty Images
The Crusaders have complained to governing body Sanzar about the pitch invasion late in Saturday's Super Rugby match against the Western Force, describing the Perth ground security as "disgraceful and unacceptable".
Several members of the crowd ran onto the nib Stadium playing surface during the dying minutes of the match won 16-14 by the Force. Five men were taken into custody after the incident, which forced referee Jonathan Kaplan to stop the game at a key moment as the visitors pushed to overhaul a two-point deficit.
Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach, who was at the game, agreed with Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder that the match was disrupted in an untimely manner for their team. However, his chief concern was player safety which was why his franchise lodged a formal complaint. "It's a massive issue around player safety and the professionalism and sanctity of the event," Riach told NZ Newswire. "[It was] disgraceful and unacceptable in our view, and needs investigating. To have four or five people on the ground and to have security staff unable to manage it, is the issue."
Riach was incredulous that Crusaders back Ryan Crotty and assistant coach Dave Hewitt - a former All Blacks prop - had to deal with two of the invaders rather than ground security.
Sanzar boss Greg Peters said a full report had been sought from match managers and nib Stadium officials. "We're obviously very disappointed," Peters said. "It was a small group of idiots among a very good crowd," he said. "We'll be making sure that we don't see something like this happen again. There has been the odd occasion when there have been pitch invasions like this but there were a number (of perpetrators) at the weekend, which made it a little bit worse than normal."
Riach said that matchday security was an ongoing issue for every franchise. He said security staff numbers needed to be sufficient, and the personnel fully trained and competent. "In this instance, it was a complete failure; that's what needs investigating."
The crowd invasion marred a successful night for Western Force (video available only in Australia)