England rugby star involved in violent clash with fan during Sale Sharks match | Rugby | Sport

Sale Sharks are conducting an investigation following a heated altercation involving their lock, Jonny Hill, and a Bath fan at the conclusion of Saturday’s match. The incident resulted in the spectator being placed in a headlock.

Hill, who was not part of the game, was seated with the Sharks’ coaching staff when tempers flared at the end of the nail-biting match. A 28-year-old man, who wished to remain anonymous, sustained a cut above his right eye and had his sunglasses broken, reports the Mirror.

The fan recounted: “I was sat there, and he came down the stairs, grabbed me around the throat, snapped my sunglasses and cut the top of my eye. I don’t want to make a big thing.” Sale boss Alex Sanderson was pitchside when the flashpoint occurred and did not see the incident. He said: “It is news to me, Jonny is not the aggressive type and I will answer those questions when I know. I can vouch for Jonny’s character, he is not an overly aggressive spiteful person.”

Hill has represented England 13 times, while Paul Deacon, Sale’s defence coach, was overheard apologising to the supporter after the commotion.

A statement from Sale read: “Sale Sharks are aware of an incident involving a player and Bath Rugby fan at the final whistle of today’s Semi-Final. The club will work with Bath Rugby to complete an investigation into the incident and will provide no further comment at this time.”

Sanderson expressed his disappointment after his team lost 31-23, missing out on a spot in the Premiership final.

“It all ended a little bit earlier than what I thought it would. I’m frustrated because we were victims of our own demise as well in the second-half,” he told TNT Sports. “Too many penalties and too much possession lost by way of aerial contests. Underlying pride in the group. In many ways it’s been one of my most rewarding seasons.

“I’ll turn my frown upside down, have a beer on the coach. Games like this turn on small hinges and it was just in the middle of the park where we gave too many penalties away.

“On the back of a couple of 22s, a couple of aerial contests were lost and it gave them possession after possession. There’s only so much you can soak up. You can’t hide from the result. We could have done better.”

Bath substitute Niall Annett’s try in the 74th minute sealed a thrilling victory, propelling the hosts into their first final in nine years. Earlier tries from Ted Hill and Beno Obano had been nullified by scores from Sale captain Ben Curry and Tommy Taylor.

Sale did briefly take the lead in the second half through winger Tom O’Flaherty’s try, but Bath fly-half Finn Russell kicked 16 points to drag his side back into contention. Annett then scored the winning try, setting up a final showdown with Northampton Saints on 8 June, following their victory over Saracens.

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