Fans spat on

RUGBY World Cup chief executive Martin Snedden described New Zealanders' treatment of Australian fans as "disappointing" after fierce trans-Tasman rivalries took on a spiteful edge.

Australian fans complained of being spat on and abused when the Wallabies slumped to a shock defeat against Ireland in Auckland last weekend, identifying New Zealanders, not travelling Irish fans, as the culprits.

Australia and New Zealand have always enjoyed a healthy level of sporting rivalry but Snedden said it would be uncharacteristic if it had crossed the line into outright hostility.

"This would definitely be out of character with the way New Zealanders have looked after our visitors over the past two weeks," the RWC chief said.

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