Two charged after Premiership Rugby final halted by eco-protestors as fans cheered a player intervening

28 May 2023, 20:34

The game was brought to a sudden halt due to the protest
The game was brought to a sudden halt due to the protest. Picture: Alamy

By Chay Quinn

Two men have been charged after Just Stop Oil protesters stopped play in the Premiership Rugby final yesterday at Twickenham before players helped drag them off the pitch.

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The Met Police said Samuel Johnson, 40, of Reydon, Suffolk, and Patrick Hart, 37, of Brislington, Bristol, have been charged with aggravated trespass.

Fans booed as two men poured orange dried paint onto the pitch after 20 minutes of play between Saracens and Sale.

When one of the men was tackled to the ground, spectators began to cheer.

The televised match was paused for a few moments before play resumed, with the orange paint still on the pitch.

Just Stop Oil's latest stunt follows similar action at the Chelsea Flower Show on Thursday and at the World Snooker Championship in Sheffield last month.

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According to Just Stop Oil, the protesters are GP Patrick Hart, 37, from Bristol and Sam Johnson, 40, a builder from Essex.

Tweeting a video of BT Sport's coverage of the stunt, the eco-activist group wrote: “Two Just Stop Oil supporters have disrupted the Gallagher Premiership Rugby final.

"They are demanding a halt to any new licences for oil, gas and coal projects in the UK.”

Clare Foges challenges Just Stop Oil spokesperson after disruption occurred at rugby final

A spokesperson for Twickenham Stadium said: “Twickenham Stadium can confirm two people have been arrested and this is now a police matter.

“We would like to thank our stewarding team who acted decisively and swiftly.”

The Gallagher Premiership Rugby final is the top division of the English rugby union system.

At the end of a dramatic opening section, Saracens led 20-13.

The game was at 6-6 when the protest took place.

Sarries had gone ahead through a penalty try shortly after play resumed, with Curry sin-binned for a tackle on Max Malins.

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