KUMAMOTO – Two players from the Uruguay team tackled a staff member and damaged property at a restaurant in the city of Kumamoto during a drinking session following their final game of the Rugby World Cup, police said Wednesday.
The police are investigating the alleged assault and questioned the players before they left Japan with the rest of the team. Meanwhile, the restaurant is considering filing a criminal complaint.
A group of players and others linked to the team visited the restaurant in the city in the early hours of Monday following their 35-13 loss to Wales at Kumamoto Stadium, according to the restaurant and other sources.
One player tackled a male staffer standing by the entrance, who was later diagnosed with a minor back injury. Security camera footage showed the man being shoved about 2 meters back, the sources said.
Several players engaged in unruly behavior, including spilling drinks on DJ equipment, punching walls and mirrors, and tearing apart a stuffed bear, said the sources.
There were over 200 customers at the restaurant when the police were called. The restaurant has been closed since the incident and expects to reopen Thursday.
A senior official from the tournament organizing committee has visited and apologized to the restaurant operator.
The two players have expressed remorse for their acts, according to the committee. The Uruguay team won one game and lost three at the tournament, finishing last their group and not reaching the quarterfinals.
“Even if it happened in their private time, their behavior is regrettable. As the organizing committee of the host country, we hope to address it in good faith,” a committee official said.