Rugby cup clash halted after player scraps with own fans

Club officials have suspended the player
Club officials have suspended the player
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A RUGBY match was abandoned after a player apparently started fighting – with his own supporters.

The cup game between Liberton and Inverleith was called off just a few minutes into the second half, with the referee stopping the match to protect players and fans after tensions threatened to boil over.

It is understood that there were concerns the actions of both the Liberton player – who has not been named – and some supporters could have led to wider crowd trouble.

The player – who is in his 30s – has now been banned by the club. A decision on his long-term future with Liberton is expected to be taken at a committee meeting next week.

He will also face a disciplinary hearing of the Scottish Rugby Union at Murrayfield next week, and is expected to receive a lengthy suspension.

Representatives of both teams – who are understood to have still enjoyed a traditional post-match meal together – have condemned the incident.

The game was a first round match in the Edinburgh Regional Bowl, and the home fans at Kirk Brae had been facing a frustrating afternoon, with their team 26-0 down.

The player involved reportedly flared up following a hard tackle, when Inverleith players were slow to get off him.

There were also suggestions someone had kicked the ball at him, and it was reported that he tried to punch one of the Inverleith players before ripping his shirt off and storming away. The player is then said to have reacted to taunts from a supporter and started pushing fans.

An Inverleith insider said: “The boy just lost the plot.”

John Ward, president of Inverleith, said: “I wasn’t actually at the game, but it was a very unusual situation.”

Liberton president Michael Hood confirmed the player had been suspended by the club.

A spokesman for the SRU said: “The referee has submitted a report to the independent discipline panel, who have invited the Liberton player to attend a hearing.”