Wales have handed a lifetime stadium ban to the supporter who ran on to the pitch during last Saturday’s defeat by South Africa.
The incident occurred in the 63rd minute of Wales’s 23-18 defeat by the Springboks, with the score tied at 15-15. The invader made his way on to the Principality Stadium pitch just before Johnny McNicholl had passed to Liam Williams in what was a promising move for Wales. The supporter was quickly tackled to the ground by security staff but Williams was forced to evade the intruder and Wales ultimately failed to score what could have been a crucial try.
Asked if it cost his side a try, the Wales head coach, Wayne Pivac, said: “I don’t know. You don’t want to see that in the game. It’s very disappointing that happened, but there was nothing the officials could do. At the time, I thought, ‘here we go’. We had a one-man advantage. They might have been distracted, but there wasn’t much more the officials could have done.”
The supporter reportedly went on to the pitch as part of a £20 bet and as he was escorted away he was drenched in beer by furious Wales fans. Mark Williams, the Principality Stadium manager, said: “Working collaboratively with South Wales police we were able to identify the pitch invader. The WRU, Principality Stadium and South Wales police condemns any behaviour of this kind, and the individual will be issued with a lifetime ban from buying any tickets from the WRU for rugby events held at Principality Stadium in future.”
The statement continued: “It’s extremely disappointing to think that by recent events the traditional game day experience is under threat and that we might be forced to look at additional measures that will impact on the fan experience in future. We were deeply disappointed to discover the individual is a registered player and member of a rugby club; the WRU are currently investigating this as a code of conduct breach.”
Meanwhile, the WRU has also confirmed that the hooker Ken Owens will miss the remaining autumn matches against Fiji and Australia with a back injury. The 34-year-old has not been able to feature against either New Zealand or South Africa and has now been released back to the Scarlets.