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Irish club players abandon tour match after just 25-minutes due to multiple off the ball incidents

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Irish domestic club champions Terenure College RFC felt they had no choice but to abandon a tour match in Argentina due to multiple violent acts off the ball, it has been revealed.


The AIL champions’ opening fixture against university side CUBA was called off after just 25 minutes, with Terenure leading 7-0.

The Dublin side won the AIL – the second-highest standard of rugby in Ireland below the provinces – back in May and are currently undertaking a three-match tour of the South American country.

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Originally slated to face Newman, the fixture was changed at the last minute, with CUBA stepping in to fill the gap. Terenure coach Sean Skehan, en route to join the squad for their final game, wrote a detailed account of the incident based on conversations with club colleagues who were present from the start.

Although the account was initially an internal communication, it has since been widely circulated on WhatsApp. The Irish Independent published his statement over the weekend.

“The respective level of the two teams seems to have been quite disproportionate in terms of quality, with the Terenure team having recently being (sic) crowned as domestic champions of Ireland in May of this year and the side representing CUBA club being predominantly made of 3/4th grade players,” Skehan wrote.

“Physically this resulted in a very unbalanced matchup. The game was ultimately abandoned after about 25 minutes of play with the score 7-0 in Terenure College’s favour.


“The CUBA club XV had approached the match in a manner that totally went against the spirit of the game. Multiple acts of off the ball foul play including punching, attempted gouging and dangerously late and high collisions resulted in significant distress amongst the Terenure playing group. Concerns of the nature of the game were raised with the referee and CUBA club’s coaches, with unsatisfactory responses delivered.

“The Terenure players felt if they had reacted to the many instances of physical provocation, the physical imbalance of the sides which greatly favoured Terenure would have resulted in serious injury being inflicted upon the CUBA club’s players.

“Given this state of affairs and the incredibly chaotic nature of the officiating of the fixture, the Terenure team decided to withdraw from the game. I would like to express my great disappointment as an officer of the club that such a set of circumstances unfolded as they did.

“Touring is an integral part of the game of rugby union, where friendships are born and lifelong memories are made. I do not believe the behaviour exhibited by CUBA club’s players and coaches reflected positively on their club and greatly sullied our touring parties (sic) experience of what should have been an excellent occasion.”


Terenure declined the post-match hospitality on offer from CUBA. Notably, a local rugby source in Buenos Aires forwarded the account to the president of the Argentine union (UAR) and the CEO of the Buenos Aires Rugby Union.


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John 347 days ago

It’s no soccer Big A diving is part of the game. Well done to the Irish team for not getting drawn into something ugly

Kevin 348 days ago

Great that good ol' rugby is back!!🤣🤣🤣

carlos 348 days ago

Who the hell tours Buenos Aires and tries to play a Top 14 team so very near finals times? Obviously, Newman was not going to play. This is why a 3/4th level from CUBA was likely recruited last minute. I have no way to verify the Irish claim, but they should have refused to start once they found out who they were going to play.
Whoever organized the tour for the Irish club is clearly ignorant of Argentine rugby seasons and tournaments. Sounds like they were scammed.
Incidentally, Newman is a school/club of Irish origin.

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