A rugby player has been handed a five-year ban after physically assaulting a referee - Ruck

A rugby player has been handed a five-year ban after physically assaulting a referee

A rugby player has been handed a five-

year ban from the sport after assaulting a referee on the field.

Referee Ian Sunderland was the victim of the incident, initially mistaking the contact as accidental when he was unexpectedly knocked over from behind during a WA Rugby Premier Grade clash.

However, subsequent witness statements and video evidence from the April 22 incident revealed a very different story. The player involved, who remains unnamed, expressed remorse for their actions.

The Perth Bayswater club, to which the player belongs, has accepted the decision and emphasised their non-condoning stance.

“We don’t condone what he did. We fully support the decision of the referees’ association and Rugby WA,” stated Darrell Stops, the club president, in an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald.

“We have genuine concerns for referee Ian Sunderland and his injury from the incident.

“But at the same time we are trying to support our player, who is not in a good space.”


5 rugby lads who are out and proud – including Exeter Chiefs forward

In honour of Pride month, RUCK wanted to celebrate five out and proud rugby stars. Their focus? How we can collectively align to take action that drives change on and off the pitch.

1. Nigel Owens

All fans, players, and anyone who knows anything about rugby will know the name, Nigel Owens. Besides having the record for most test matches refereed, Owens has earned a reputation as one of the top rugby referees around the world.

The Welshman is also a TV personality and a devoted activist for the LGBT cause, winning “Gay Sports Personality of the Decade” at the Stonewall awards ceremony in London back in 2015.

“It’s such a big taboo to be gay in my line of work, I had to think very hard about it because I didn’t want to jeopardise my career,” he confessed.

“Coming out was very difficult and I tried to live with who I really was for years. I knew I was ‘different’ from my late teens, but I was just living a lie.”


Refereeing in as sport like rugby also hindered his decision.

“When I became a referee, it became clear that there was nobody in the sport who was gay.

“The rugby world is very heterosexual and masculine, and this made things difficult.

“Although that’s not to say that the sport is openly homophobic. It was just never an environment where I felt like I could be myself.”


He wrote in his column: “There’s not too much I can say at the moment about the process itself, but we are both incredibly excited. It’s something that we’ve spoken about for a few years now and it’s taken a while to get here, but now that it’s happening we can’t wait, although I must admit it’s also a little nerve-wracking.

“As any parent will tell you, there’s no bigger commitment than raising a child, so that was obviously the main reason why I decided against the South Africa job in the end. I couldn’t, nor would I want to, go away for the next six months with this happening.”