Racial taunts and violent threats have reduced foreign players to tears after games, a Canterbury club rugby manager says.

Southbridge division one manager Chris McMillan, who has been managing the side for 13 years, said there had been “ongoing issues” since the team first started recruiting players from overseas, mainly Tonga, Fiji, South Africa and the United States, in 2007.

The team competes in the Canterbury Country sub union’s combined Ellesmere/Mid Canterbury/North Canterbury senior competition.

“The abuse some of these players take from the sidelines and on the field is bloody terrible.


“We have had players basically in tears at the end of games and there’s been times when I have had to basically run out there with the water and tell them to calm down because it could erupt.”

His comments come after allegations of racism at a division one match on the weekend between Mid Canterbury side Hampstead and North Canterbury’s Saracens, which ended with a penalty try that witnesses say sparked a confrontation between supporters and the referee. Allegations of racial abuse by spectators followed.

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