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Security guard criticised for 'violent' tackle on streaker

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Streaker tackled by security in New Zealand

A security guard who is an amateur rugby player displays his questionable tackling skills during All Blacks - England game after a streaker invaded the pitch.

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One of the most memorable tackles of the All Blacks' weekend clash with England came not from one of the Test players, but courtesy of a security guard who chased down a streaker and slammed him to the ground.

But 19-year-old Brad Hemopo is now facing accusations that he could have seriously injured the streaker, whose head snapped back violently when he was tackled from behind at Dunedin's Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday night.

The tackle by Hemopo - who is a New Zealand Under 20 rugby trialist and development team member of the Canterbury Crusaders - will be reviewed by stadium management following criticism online that his tackle was a "king hit", a "cheap shot" and "over the top". Others said the streaker deserved the treatment he received for disrupting the game.

The streaker is manhandled at the All Blacks Test in Dunedin on Saturday.

The streaker is manhandled at the All Blacks Test in Dunedin on Saturday. Photo: Reuters

Footage of the incident shows a naked man invading the pitch in the 62nd minute of the Test, forcing play to stop. But as the streaker slows to a walk beside England player Luther Burrell, Hemopo lines him up and takes him down with a bruising tackle from behind.

Hemopo then holds the man in a headlock before he and another security guard march him from the field and into the hands of police.

John Gee, Hemopo's coach with the High School Old Boys rugby team in Christchurch, said Hemopo should have been playing for his home club on Saturday, but needed extra money so took a shift as a security guard at the stadium.

Andrew Symonds tackles a streaker  at the Gabba in 2008.

Andrew Symonds tackles a streaker at the Gabba in 2008. Photo: Getty Images

"He is not an aggressive person," Gee told stuff.co.nz, adding that the tackle took place in the "heat of the moment" and that Hemopo was just trying to do his job.

He said Hemopo, a student at the University of Canterbury, would be remorseful following the tackle.

Video of the tackle has caused divided opinion among online commentators. Some said the pitch invader was ''destroyed'' or "hammered", while others called the tackle "violent", ''over the top'' and a ''king hit''.

Greg Chappell gives chase at Eden Park, Auckland, in 1976.

Greg Chappell gives chase at Eden Park, Auckland, in 1976.

John Warren Harsh wrote on Facebook that the tackle "could have seriously injured the guy, who, whilst he shouldn't have been doing what he was, didn't deserve that treatment".

Mark Dewsbery described the reactions of many as "soft".

"Why do so many defend the idiot? He knew before he ran out there it was wrong. If he broke his neck it's his own fault," he said. 

Sergeant Reece Munro, from of Dunedin police, said a 28-year-old Christchurch man who was "under the influence of alcohol" was taken into custody after the incident.

The man was charged with offensive behaviour, which attracts a maximum penalty of $1000, before he was released early on Sunday morning. He is due to appear in the Dunedin District Court on Wednesday.

Kim Barnes, from Dunedin Venues Management, which organised security, told the New Zealand Herald that the incident was under review.

"A post-match review meeting will be taking place tomorrow morning with all relevant parties and this incident will be part of that review. Comment will be made after this meeting," she said.

The incident took place just hours after a naked rugby match between a group of Kiwi and English fans in Dunedin. The two 15-man teams had stripped down to their birthday suits for that match, which was as an unofficial curtain raiser to the second Test on Saturday night, which the All Blacks won 28-27.

Saturday night's tackle brought back memories of an incident at the Gabba in 2008, when a streaker came off second best in a collision with Australian cricketer Andrew Symonds.

Symonds was at the crease during a one-day final against India when a streaker ran towards him on the pitch. Symonds connected with a rugby-league style shoulder charge that left the streaker flat on his back.

Other Australian cricketers have been known to make an example of nude intruders.

In 1976, former Australian captain Greg Chappell was so incensed by a male streaker he spanked him on the bottom with his bat at Auckland's Eden Park.

And in 1982, Australian seamer Terry Alderman damaged his shoulder so seriously tackling an English pitch invader in Perth that he was ruled out for the rest of that Ashes series.

Fairfax Media

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