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Irish supporters showed 'they can't handle alcohol' - NZ police chief

Ireland fans following the rugby team in New Zealand have been criticised by a senior police officer in Christchurch following Saturday’s second test.

An Ireland fan at the first test in Auckland, New Zealand last week.
An Ireland fan at the first test in Auckland, New Zealand last week.
Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

A SENIOR SERGEANT from Christchurch Police has criticised the behaviour of some Irish fans who became drunk and disorderly during Ireland’s rugby defeat to New Zealand over the weekend.

As Ireland went close to beating the All Blacks at Rugby League Park on Saturday , Scott Banfield, the head of Christchurch’s team policing unit said there were five arrests and 16 people thrown out of the ground for alcohol-related disorder.

He told The Press that most of the troublemakers were Irish supporters who “demonstrated they can’t handle their alcohol” saying that in many cases instances where people were sat in the wrong seats and started fighting led to problems.

He told the paper:

I think they just have to understand .. if they’re in Rome do as the Romans do. We don’t drink to a point where we fall over so much in our country.

Our reporter Pat McCarry estimated that Ireland fans were outnumbered by 15 to 1 in the 21,000 capacity stadium on Saturday but the reports from New Zealand indicate that most of the trouble makers were Irish fans.

A naked woman who ran onto the field during the game’s interval was also arrested. The streaker is likely to be sent to the Christchurch District Court for disorderly behaviour. It is not clear what nationality she is.

“It was disappointing. Overall [it was] a fantastic game, a real test, but to have people’s alcohol levels so high, it took a real shine off the game,” Banfield said.

Quoted on NZ City he added that while he was “not picking on the Irish” most of those who were ejected from the ground “were wearing green and gold, so one can assume they were supporting the Irish”.

Poll: Do Irish fans drink too much abroad?

Read: O’Driscoll expects heroism in Hamilton

Match report: Carter saves the day for All Blacks, leaves Irish on the edge of glory

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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