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Super Rugby statement: Racist slur probe

By AAP
Frank Lomani of Fijian Drua leaves the field during the round seven Super Rugby Pacific match between Melbourne Rebels and Fijian Drua at AAMI Park, on April 05, 2024, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

An investigation into alleged racial abuse of Fijian Drua halfback Frank Lomani by a Melbourne Rebels fan during a Super Rugby Pacific match has found the claim could not be substantiated.

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Super Rugby Pacific competition management, with the assistance of the Rebels and Rugby Australia, opened an investigation following the round seven match in Melbourne earlier this month.

Lomani was sent from AAMI Park after elbowing Rebels lock Josh Canham in the head and the Fijian international appeared to react to a member of the crowd.

The Drua issued a statement that Lomani was racially abused, with their coach Mick Byrne calling for a life ban for the perpetrator.

However the investigation could not affirm the allegations.

“A thorough investigation has now been completed into the allegation and based on the evidence available the allegation of racial abuse could not be substantiated,” said a statement issued by tournament officials SANZAAR on Monday.

“The competition maintains a zero tolerance towards any anti-social behaviour by spectators and, while the competition encourages fans to cheer for their team, it expects that respect should always be shown for others.

“Rugby prides itself on the values of respect and integrity and spectators must adhere to these values while attending matches. The Competition reminds everyone that strict penalties will be enforced for any behaviour that is likely to intimidate, offend, insult, humiliate or discriminate against any other person on the ground of their religion, race, colour or national or ethnic origin.”

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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