16 banned from rugby over incident on Fife club's team bus

Scottish Rugby has handed down a raft of long-term suspensions following an investigation into an incident which occurred on the team bus of Howe of Fife RFC last season.

Howe of Fife RFC.

Garry Horne, the Cupar club’s former head coach and father of Scotland international Peter Horne, has been banned from coaching for a year.

Former president Murdo Fraser has also been suspended for 12 months.

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The pair’s bans cover any involvement in rugby coaching, officiating or administration. They are accused by the SRU of “failing to exercise reasonable and proper control over the players under their supervision”.

Two Howe players have been suspended from playing for two seasons (84 weeks) for their part in the shocking incident. Twelve other Howe players received shorter playing bans, of between six and eight weeks.

Last September, two club members, aged 20 and 22, were arrested and charged with sexual assault following the incident, which was allegedly part of an “initiation” ceremony that took place as the bus travelled between venues. On the day in question, Howe of Fife were beaten 71-20 at Jed-Forest.

The case never went to court and was instead made an “alternative to prosecution (direct measure)”.

Both Horne and Fraser resigned in June after the SRU launched a formal investigation on allegations of misconduct.

Players Angus Guthrie and Robert Douglas have received the two-year bans, while 12 others from the club have been been given the shorter suspensions.

Howe of Fife are currently in National League Division 2 after being relegated last season. As well as 25-times capped Peter Horne, who will start a Glasgow Warriors game for the first time alongside his brother George Horne against Leinster tomorrow night, it is also the club of legendary former Scotland and Lions prop Dave Rollo, who was a star in the 1960s.

The SRU statement said: “Howe of Fife as a club will be required to ensure all office bearers, trustees, directors and players over the age of 18 attend a series of leadership workshops to improve the club’s culture. A fine has also been applied against the club.”

Details of the sanctions involved are available on Scottish Rugby’s website

SRU chief executive Mark Dodson said: “The behaviour of those involved in this incident, including several individuals in positions of authority at the club, was completely unacceptable.

“Scottish Rugby has been proactive to ensure a full, independent disciplinary process was conducted and that measures are put in place to deliver a change of culture at the club.

“The actions of those involved have absolutely no place in our sport. Significant sanctions have been applied in this matter and Scottish Rugby will not hesitate to take action against any club, official or player behaving in a similarly unacceptable manner.”