Pitch invader banned for life from Principality Stadium

A man has been banned from the Principality Stadium for life after running on to the pitch during Wales’ match against South Africa on Saturday.

With the score 15-15, the 28-year-old entered the field in the 63rd minute and was tackled by stewards as Liam Williams was attempting to score.

The pitch invader was booed by the Cardiff crowd as he was taken off the field and ejected from the stadium.

World champions South Africa went on to win 23-18.

Principality Stadium manager Mark Williams said: “Working collaboratively with South Wales Police we were able to identify the pitch invader who entered the field of play during Wales v South Africa at Principality Stadium on Saturday, 6 November 2021.

“The WRU [Welsh Rugby Union], 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.

“We were deeply disappointed to discover the individual is a registered player and member of a rugby club; and the WRU are currently investigating this as a code of conduct breach.

“I’d like to thank the pitchside stewards and on-pitch security team who acted swiftly stopping the individual and escorting them from the field of play.

“For more than 20 years this stadium has been revered across the world for its unique atmosphere and game-day experience.

“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.”

Speaking after the game, Wales head coach Wayne Pivac said: “You don’t want to see that in the game.

“It was very disappointing that happened, but [there is] nothing the officials could do about that.”

There were no guarantees Williams would have scored with the pass behind him and three covering South Africa defenders, but the incident did occur in the Wales replacement’s line of vision.

When asked whether he thought Williams would have crossed, Pivac replied: “Look, I don’t know. We just saw a two-v-one type situation forming up. At the time, I thought here we go.

"We had a one-man advantage. I haven't had a chance to speak to the players. They might have been distracted but there wasn't much more the officials could have done. They've got to deal with that the way they did."

South Africa captain Siya Kolisi added: “I saw it in the end. There was nothing we could have done. Both teams reacted to the situation.

“You just see someone getting tackled. I thought it was well taken care of by the stadium staff.”

The incident was another worrying security breach for Principality Stadium bosses following the previous weekend’s game against New Zealand, when serial pitch invader Daniel Jarvis joined the All Blacks’ anthem line-up before being thrown out of the venue.

Original article published 8.11.21 on the BBC Sport website.

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