Tui unlikely to travel after altercation with fan - Cheika

Tui unlikely to travel after altercation with fan - Cheika
By Reuters

16/09/2018 at 01:12Updated 16/09/2018 at 11:21

SYDNEY, Sept 16 (Reuters) - Australia loose forward Lukhan Tui is unlikely to travel with the team to South Africa and Argentina after he was involved in an altercation with a fan following Saturday's 23-19 Rugby Championship loss to the Pumas, coach Michael Cheika has said.

Video footage showed the 21-year-old being confronted by a fan wearing a Wallabies jersey after the match on the Gold Coast before they began pushing each other.

The fan was lead away by security guards, while the Auckland-born Tui, whose stepfather died suddenly during the week, was restrained by team mates.

"We'll see how the week pans out and go from there," Cheika told reporters at Brisbane airport on Sunday when asked if Tui would travel with the team. "I'd say it's unlikely, based on what we spoke about last night.

"His stepfather's just passed away ... he needs to just be with his family and be together."

Australian media widely reported that a distraught Tui had told his team mates, who wore black armbands in support of the bullocking flanker, after the match that he needed to take a break from the game and would not play again this season.

Rugby Australia have launched an investigation into the incident and while Cheika said on Saturday fans had every right to be disappointed with the Wallabies' first loss to the Pumas in Australia in 35 years, the man's reaction was unwarranted.

"I don't know about the fan or what he said or anything. I just don't like to see that in the game," Cheika said on Sunday before adding the matter was now in the hands of officials.

"As they do in all the grounds in Australia, they'll take a look at it and the people at the ground, they're responsible for that stuff."

The Wallabies, who are bottom of the Rugby Championship, next travel to Port Elizabeth to face South Africa on Sept. 29 before taking on the Pumas in Salta on Oct. 6.

(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury in Wellington; Editing by Peter Rutherford)