Guard '100 percent' right over tackle

A security guard who came under fire for a hard-hitting tackle of a streaker during Saturday night's All Blacks game was "absolutely, 100 percent" in the right, Forsyth Barr Stadium management says.

The tackle, which was described as "bone-crushing" by some, sent the male streaker to the ground after he invaded the pitch during the second half of the game against England at the Dunedin stadium.

It was heavily criticised online yesterday, and was the subject of a post-match briefing by management company, Dunedin Venues Management Ltd (DVML) this morning.

But chief executive Terry Davies has stood by the security guard - named as Canterbury Rugby's ITM Cup wider training group member Brad Hemopo - saying he did the right thing.

"We are going to come down hard on anyone who breaks rules at the venue," he said.

"We have been speaking with the security guard, the security company, we looked at our pre-planning and pre-briefing, and it all fell into line and was consistent, and on that basis we will support him 100 percent."

Speculation about how the security guard could have better handled the situation underestimated the danger posed, he said.

"You can speculate all you like about should he have slowed up, should he have done it in a different way - the reality is historically streakers don't want to get caught, so if he had sensed the security guard was chasing him, or if our security guard had eased off and approached him in a different way, he would have sped off.

"That could have fundamentally caused the primary issue that we talk to our security guards around, and that's protection of player safety."

Security guards are told to prioritise player safety, and then get off the pitch "in the fastest way possible", he said.

A review would be carried out on how to fill any gaps in security around the edge of the grounds, to ensure streakers and other pitch invaders could not gain access, he said.

In an earlier statement, DVML said it understood the streaker was left sore, but uninjured following the tackle, and did not require or request any medical treatment.

Mr Davies described the streaker's behaviour was "disappointing", and such incidents "unacceptable".

"We have an expectation from our patrons that attend any match to adhere to all conditions of ticket entry."

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew also said he was "very disappointed" by the streaker.

"This man put himself and players at risk by his foolish actions. We expect test match venues to take quick and decisive action when there is anything that threatens the safe operation of a match."

The 28-year-old streaker was charged with offensive behaviour, and has been banned from Forsyth Barr Stadium for two years. He is due to appear in court this week.

Mr Hemopo - a 19-year-old New Zealand U20 rugby team trialist and 2013 Crusader development team member - declined to comment when he was contacted by the Otago Daily Times.




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