Rugby Australia condemns verbal abuse of England coach Jones
SYDNEY (AP) — Rugby Australia has denounced the behavior of a fan who verbally abused visiting coach Eddie Jones and imposed a life ban on a man who climbed onto the roof of a grandstand during England’s series-deciding win over Australia in Sydney on the weekend.
Rugby Australia chief executive Andy Marinos issued a statement Monday describing the actions of the man who got onto the stadium roof as “deplorable ... disgraceful and dangerous.”
New South Wales state police arrested and charged the man with behaving in an offensive manner and the venue, the Sydney Cricket Ground, banned him for two years. He has also been banned for life from all Rugby Australia events.
Australia won the series-opening match in Perth 30-28 but England rallied to clinch the series with narrow wins in Brisbane and Sydney.
Jones, who is Australian and coached the Wallabies before taking the job at England, reacted angrily to a man who called him a traitor at the third test on Saturday. Video of the exchange was posted on social media.
“The offensive remarks made by spectators in the Members’ areas towards England staff were unacceptable - and not representative of the values of rugby,” Marinos said, adding that investigations continued.
“Rugby prides itself on values of respect and integrity. Please, cheer for your team with all that you have. But please, always show respect for others.”
Jones has had an extensive coaching career that includes five years as head coach of the Wallabies, guiding the Australians to the Rugby World Cup final in 2003.
He was an assistant in South Africa when the Springboks won the 2007 World Cup, coached Japan to one of the biggest upsets in rugby history with a win over South Africa at the 2015 World Cup and guided England to the final in 2019.
Former Australia playmaker Matt Giteau was among the players, officials and rugby supporters who criticized the verbal attack on Jones.
“I, as a proud Wallaby & Australian, don’t think for one second Eddie is a traitor,” Giteau posted on Twitter. “He is a proud Aussie that happens to coach another national team that isn’t us. This is sport nowadays.”
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