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Sab 4 Nov 2006 11:15:20 CET
Mauger attacca, la RFU nega... tutta pretattica...
Following comments made by Aaron Mauger in the New Zealand media on Saturday
morning (carried below), we have tonight released the following statement.
November 3 2006
RFU rejects racism allegations
The Rugby Football Union rejects any allegations that New Zealand players
were racially abused by England supporters during the Investec Challenge
match at Twickenham Stadium in November 2005.
RFU Chief Executive Francis Baron OBE said: "No allegations of any racist
abuse were made during or after that game and it is puzzling why they have
now been made a year later. Rugby is an inclusive game for all and the RFU
abhors any form of discrimination or abuse based on colour, creed, sexual
orientation or disability. The England fans who come to Twickenham are a
credit to the ethos of rugby and we have never had any allegations of racism
levelled against them. It is disappointing that they have been unfairly
accused like this. I have asked the New Zealand management to investigate
Aaron Mauger's comments and to take the appropriate action."
Ed Dawes, General Manager of the England Rugby Supporters' Club, added: "Our
members are passionate and vocal but we have never had any reports of racist
abuse and we reject any accusations that they would engage in such
Any futher comment on this matter will only be made by RFU Chief Executive
Dave Barton | National Media Manager | Rugby Football Union
Tel & fax + 44 1453 845333 | Mobile 07736 517610 | davebarton a rfu.com
England fans 'racist' - Mauger
04 November 2006
Monday morning's test against England last night took on an explosive edge
after Aaron Mauger claimed several All Blacks were racially abused by
sections of the Twickenham crowd during last year's grand slam tour victory.
»LISTEN TO AUDIO CLIP
Mauger revealed racial abuse from a section of the Twickenham crowd was
behind Anton Oliver's recent outburst about English fans.
And the burning fuse for a fiery encounter was shortened when England
captain Martin Corry used British newspapers to urge the anticipated record
crowd of 82,000 fans to make Oliver pay for his controversial remarks.
After a reasonably sedate buildup earlier in the week, the comments from
Mauger and Corry will ensure the remaining hours between now and the
eagerly-awaited clash in London will be as prickly as possible.
Replying to a question from an English journalist on Oliver's comments that
English fans "are ignorant and arrogant", Mauger, who is part-Samoan,
revealed his teammate was upset about crowd behaviour in New Zealand's 23-19
win at Twickenham this time last year.
Mauger played in the match but Oliver was not selected and watched from the
stands. He did not reveal the alleged racial remarks in his original
criticism of English fans on a New Zealand website last week.
The remarks were seized upon by British newspapers, and now Corry is using
Oliver's criticism to urge the Twickenham crowd to cheer England on to a
famous upset victory.
Mauger's revelation will only add to the tension – particularly if Corry's
rah-rah incites English fans to target All Blacks players.
"In terms of the crowd I think there were a few racial remarks made to a few
of our boys last year, and a few of the guys took exception to it which is
fair enough because there's no place for that in sport," Mauger said.
"It seemed to be the Island guys who got picked on."
Oliver also attacked the English press and Mauger confirmed the players were
upset by the British media's reaction to the controversial Kapo O Pango
"With the haka as well, pulling out a new haka, I don't know if that was
received too well. (The papers) might have been quoted as being 'animals' or
something like that, so it was a bit disheartening."
Oliver had hinted at abuse in his original comments, saying: "I gave some
friends some tickets (to last year's test) and they were just shocked at the
level of opprobrium aimed at our players."
Corry's remarks will only intensify the All Blacks' concerns about crowd
security. Corry admitted Oliver's remarks had given his side extra
motivation to end their five-test sequence without a victory, also brushing
aside suggestions that his reshuffled side was certain to lose.
"It's not the England crowd that I know," said Corry in response to Oliver's
"I hope there'll be 82,000 people there desperate to prove him wrong."
British papers also made plenty of comments attributed to recalled All
Blacks hardman Keith Robinson.
"They (England) are bullies; that's their game – beating guys up up front,"
Robinson was reported as saying. " If you take on a bully you are going to
be in for one. We are playing well and we have to beat up the bully, I
It is obvious that last year's events, as revealed by Mauger, are still a
sore point with the All Blacks.
Mauger said the English reaction to Oliver's comments had been discussed on
the team bus and pointed out his teammate's criticism was directed at fans –
not the England team. "I don't think he meant to fuel the fire over the
English or anything," Mauger said. "I think it was more directed towards the
crowd and not towards the players at all because we have the utmost respect
for the English side."
Mauger's revelations are likely to also hit a nerve in England, where racial
abuse by football fans has been a problem since the first black players came
to prominence in the 1970s and 1980s.
Ever since Eric Cantona's infamous "flying kung fu kick" incident in 1994,
when the Manchester United football star leapt the spectator hoardings to
attack an abusive fan, taunting of players by crowd members has been a hot
Mauger was reluctant to elaborate on his comments, saying: "I don't want to
talk about it too much because I'll probably get into trouble."
However, he did say the All Blacks had not encountered racial abuse from any
other group of fans anywhere else in the world.
It is also embarrassing for England's national union, the RFU, which only
six weeks ago censured former All Blacks halfback Mark Robinson after four
spectators claimed he had racially abused a rival player in an English club
The RFU didn't uphold the charge, clearing Robinson of racism, but censured
him for the use of "inappropriate language" on the field.
It is not yet known whether New Zealand team management has asked either the
RFU or Twickenham officials to increase security on the perimeter of the
field to prevent problems during Monday morning's clash.
A recent factsheet about racism in football, produced by the University of
Leicester, said "racism within professional football in Britain has,
historically, been tied to the nature of British society, in particular its
colonialist and racist past . . . racism is constitutive of what has become
a 'British way of life'."
Oliver attacked England's "colonialist" attitudes in his original comments.
One of the more infamous incidents in England came two years ago, when three
fans were banned from football matches for five years after abusing
Birmingham City striker Dwight Yorke.
Two of the men were fined $NZ1400 each, and the third $NZ500.
Yorke faced the abuse while warming up as a substitute, triggering a police
investigation which led to five arrests. Birmingham manager Steve Bruce said
that Yorke had been the target of "monkey" chants.
Just over a week ago in England, football's anti-racism organisation, Kick
It Out, ended a week of action against racism, while Cricket Australia
recently announced a zero tolerance policy on racial abuse, threatening life
bans for offenders.
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