05/15/2013 09:49 EDT | Updated 07/15/2013 05:12 EDT

SANZAR fines Stormers for abusing match official during Super 15 match in NZ

SYDNEY - The Cape Town-based Stormers have been fined $25,000 by SANZAR after club members were found guilty of insulting and offensive conduct toward a match official during their Super 15 match against the Hurricanes last month.

While a SANZAR statement Wednesday did not elaborate on the circumstances, New Zealand media reported that an assistant referee was verbally abused by members of the Stormers' management at the Palmerston North, New Zealand on April 26. The Stormers beat the Hurricanes 18-16.

John Knowles, chief executive of the Manawatu Rugby Union which hosted the match, told reporters "the matter was reported through the referees group."

SANZAR, the Southern hemisphere rugby body, said the Stormers team accepted it breached the code of conduct and "has unreservedly apologized to the match officials, and Mr. Sheldon Eden-Whaitiri in particular."

Australian-based SANZAR disciplinary judiciary member Terry Willis fined the Stormers $15,000 for insulting and offensive conduct and $10,000 for bringing the game into disrepute. They were also ordered to pay SANZAR's costs associated with the hearing.