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Confusion on charges for player alleged to have wiped blood on referee and king-hit opponent

Canberra Times logo Canberra Times 26/05/2014 Chris Dutton

Confusion surrounds the charges awaiting a Canberra rugby player who is alleged to have wiped his blood on a referee before king-hitting an opponent on Saturday.

The referee involved, ACT Rugby Referees Association president Robert Boyes, said on Monday he hoped officials would "take a stand for the sake of referees" after the bizarre incident in the Wests vs Queanbeyan fourth grade match in Queanbeyan.

However the ACT rugby judiciary will need to determine the severity of the charge and any potential penalty, which could range from weeks to a career-ending ban if the Wests player was found guilty.

The yet-to-be-named player, who was bleeding and concussed at the time of the incident, is already the subject of a police investigation. 

There were initial reports the player headbutted Boyes when the referee showed him a yellow card for a ruck infringement but Boyes said the player had leaned in and wiped his blood on him.

The incident prompted Boyes to change the punishment to a red card and as the player left the field it is alleged he punched an unsuspecting Adam Res.

Res, 20, has a broken nose but did not want to comment while his family decided if they would press charges and Queanbeyan police investigated the incident.

The ACT judiciary will use International Rugby Board-recommended sanctions to make its final decision when it meets on Wednesday. If it is deemed physical abuse of a match official, it carries a top end penalty of 96 weeks or life and a low end suspension of 24 weeks.

However, it could also fall under the category of threatening actions or words at a match official which can result in suspensions of 12-48 weeks.

The Wests player left the field immediately to go to hospital for the cut on his head and has a medical certificate confirming he was concussed.

Boyes feared the incident would deter young referees from joining the rugby ranks.

"Hopefully they make a statement that you can't touch referees in any code. Hopefully they take a stand for the sake of referees," Boyes, 49, said.

"My opinion is a referee or umpire... they shouldn't be touched. It doesn't belong anywhere, even verbal abuse.

"Treat referees with respect. We don't get paid for this job, we do it because we love the game and want to be a part of it just like the players do.

"I don't like seeing players get rubbed out of the game, but I don't agree with what happened. If this is used to send a message to say it's not acceptable ... every code is against violence on officials."

Boyes has been refereeing for five years and involved in rugby for 25 years.

The Wests player has contacted Queanbeyan to apologise for the incident.  

Boyes described the game as a feisty clash between Wests and Queanbeyan.

The Wests player had blood coming from his head after trying to clean out an opponent in the ruck.

Boyes has submitted his match report to officials and the player will front a three-man judiciary on Wednesday night.

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