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Supporters encouraged to APPLAUD not abuse

Getty Images     11 Jun 2013     Getty Images

Ensuring a positive environment for Small Blacks Rugby is at the heart of New Zealand Rugby’s APPLAUD programme which provides clubs and schools with various tools and initiatives to remind supporters the sideline is no place for abuse or bad behaviour.

General Manager Community Rugby and Provincial Union, Brent Anderson said APPLAUD was borne out by feedback that some children playing Small Blacks Rugby (under 13) often felt under pressure and embarrassed by parents and supporters on the sideline.

“Kids playing rugby are out there to have fun with their friends and enjoy the game. When support from the sideline turns abusive or aggressive, it ruins the environment for everyone – the kids, the officials and other supporters.

“The firm message of APPLAUD is for supporters to be mindful of their behaviour and back a positive environment for the game. There should be no tolerance of abusive behaviour of any sort in sport.”

All Blacks Andrew Hore, Piri Weepu, Steven Luatua and Francis Saili joined Black Ferns Emma Jensen and Milly Deans to support the U12 College Rifles Bullets as they took on Carlton Black and the U13 College Rifles Gunners play the Suburbs Slammers.

All Blacks halfback Piri Weepu said the simple message behind APPLAUD would help remind parents and supporters to think twice before becoming abusive on the sideline.

“The rugby environment in New Zealand is generally awesome, but APPLAUD is an easy reminder to supporters to stay positive.”

The programme includes a range of material for clubs, schools and supporters including:

• A charter and code of commitment to promote a positive environment for rugby.
• A range of collateral and promotional material featuring Richie McCaw and other All Blacks.
• Posters, stickers, wristbands, referee bibs and ‘My Parents are Ugly’ book and activities for schools.

APPLAUD is being delivered as part of New Zealand Rugby’s Community Strategy which invests $16.5 million in community rugby over the next three years.