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Rugby World Cup: Racism rears its ugly head
by CHLOE JOHNSON 5:30 AM Sunday Oct 2, 2011
The rector of a prestigious Catholic college is disgusted with eight
students who racially abused Polynesian footballers after being beaten
in the national secondary schools rugby championship tournament.
The comments have also disappointed the Samoan Rugby World Cup squad
as they bow out of the tournament.
St Bede's College students, aged 16 and 17, wrote racist comments on
two public Facebook pages, claiming Polynesian footballers were good
only for their brawn and not their brains.
They claimed most brown people were stupid, on a benefit and had
children while still at high school.
The comments were specifically targeted at Wesley College's 1st XV - a
pre***ly Polynesian team - which defeated St Bede's in August.
Wesley is a decile two college and the school which produced rugby
legend Jonah Lomu, who was head prefect and captain of the 1st XV in
Also, eight men who represent Fiji, Tonga and Samoa in this year's
World Cup were Wesley old boys - including Samoan No 8 George Stowers.
The St Bede's student who led the debate, who does not play in the
school's 1st XV, said, "Nigs can't think".
"They are s*** at rugby after school because club footy requires more
than just being big and black and being fully developed at the age of
15," he wrote.
Pete Malcouronne, author of Our Game - a book about rugby and race
relations - was shocked by the comments and laid a complaint with the
Human Rights Commission.
Malcouronne said racism was rugby's dirty secret, despite some of New
Zealand's top players coming from Polynesian backgrounds, including
Tana Umaga and Ma'a Nonu. The complaint is being assessed.
Manu Samoa media manager Fatu Tauafiafi said the comments "belonged in
the rubbish" but said he had heard that kind of thing before. He said
some Samoan players had their own businesses and some planned on
moving to academic careers after retiring from the code. "People like
us who receive those comments know rightly where it belongs - in the
rubbish," Tauafiafi said.
St Bede's rector Justin Boyle said he would consider sanctions for the
"I'm bitterly disappointed that seven or eight students here
associated with the college should descend to that level and
unfortunately give the place a bad name, because it's certainly not
reflective of most of the boys at this college," Boyle said.
Only two of the students involved played in the 1st XV.
Most of the team - including a Tongan, five Samoans and four Maori -
lost graciously to Wesley College, he said.
"Some of the boys who are Maori and Samoan are also very good
academics and, if they looked a wee bit closer instead of shooting off
their mouths at their own people representing them in 1st XV, they
would know these guys are not just rugby players but also highly
intelligent and good kids in the classroom."
Boyle said he would speak to the students and their parents before
deciding whether formal discipline was necessary.