Club rugby player admits injuring opponent in ‘shameful’ brawl on the pitch


Iosefo Kalolo Aukusitino appears in Hutt Valley District Court.  He pleaded guilty to injuring an opposition player with reckless disregard during a Wellington club rugby match.

Monique Ford / Stuff

Iosefo Kalolo Aukusitino appears in Hutt Valley District Court. He pleaded guilty to injuring an opposition player with reckless disregard during a Wellington club rugby match.

A former Wellington club rugby player has admitted criminal responsibility for an attack on the pitch which left an opponent with serious facial injuries.

Iosefo Kalolo Aukusitino pleaded guilty in Hutt Valley District Court on Tuesday to injuring Petone Ridge Studd with reckless disregard. He was originally charged with causing bodily harm with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, but that charge was later dropped.

The charge concerned an incident during an Ambassador’s Sevens tournament match between Petone and Aukusitino club Marist St Pats (MSP) at Upper Hutt’s Maidstone Park on November 14, 2020.

He will be sentenced on March 9, 2022. At Tuesday’s hearing, counsel for the 23-year-old Tim Castle said his client wanted a restorative justice meeting with the victim before that date.

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A photograph of the fight between Petone and the Marist St Pats players on November 14, 2020.

Andrew McArthur / Stuff

A photograph of the fight between Petone and the Marist St Pats players on November 14, 2020.

In a statement released after the hearing, MSP chairman Rob Evans said the club deeply regretted the incident and the effect it had on the Studd family and the rugby community.

“We sincerely apologize to Ridge Studd and his family for the injury and harm caused.”

The incident prompted the club to take a look at how it was operating. To avoid any similar incidents, he put in place a code of conduct for players and supporters, followed the advice of Rugby Union’s cultural and welfare programs and focused more on the welfare and player values, Evans said.

MSP is also committed to ensuring that coaches, managers, players and supporters know and follow its rules and comply with its constitution, which is centered on “the promotion and promotion of a spirit of union, good fellowship and race, culture and gender. inclusiveness among members, ”he added.

Petone rugby player Ridge Studd is suing a Marist player from St Pats.  Studd then suffered serious facial injuries after being attacked by players from Marist St Pats.

Andrew McArthur / Stuff

Petone rugby player Ridge Studd is suing a Marist player from St Pats. Studd then suffered serious facial injuries after being attacked by players from Marist St Pats.

“Marist St Pats has never tolerated violence of any kind on or off the rugby pitch or under any circumstances. We stand behind Iosefo Aukusitino as he takes responsibility for his actions.

“The MSP is a dynamic, voluntary and multicultural sports club. Many different communities are proud of our club and we are committed to ensuring it remains a welcoming and positive place for all ethnicities, genders and ages.

In addition to any court sentences imposed on Aukusitino, Wellington club rugby matches are banned for two years.

The sanction was imposed after a hearing of the Wellington Rugby Football Union Disciplinary Committee, which concluded that Aukusitino struck Studd “with serious consequences for the victim’s health”.

Photos obtained by Thing show Studd nailed to the ground as a brawl broke out.

According to a report presented to the committee hearing, witnesses saw Studd “convulse on the ground” as a result of the brawl. He was hospitalized, suffered multiple fractures, had to undergo reconstructive facial surgery and was unable to work for the next few weeks.

Wellington’s lawyer Gerard Dewar, who presided over the hearing, called the attack “shameful”.

Aukusitino’s brother and teammate Sagele Aukusitino has been suspended from the rugby club for a year for his role in the attack.

Another of the couple’s brother, Patrick Aukusitino, a spectator, was suspended for two years for entering the playing field and punching Studd, while a third MSP player, Jeremiah Tuiatua, was suspended for five matches for the use of force via a shoulder load. .

Studd has been suspended for three matches for strike action and retaliation.

MSP was also reprimanded, with a three-year ban from the Ambassador’s Sevens Tournament. The committee said at the time that allowing the club to play in future tournaments was “potentially dangerous”.

CORRECTION: Iosefo Aukusitino pleaded guilty to an injury charge with reckless disregard. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Iosefo Aukusitino pleaded guilty to a charge of injury with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. (Modified December 7, 2021 at 8:37 p.m.).


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