South Africa fan Pieter van Zyl is escorted of the pitch. Photo: screen-grab from Youtube

WELLINGTON – Former All Blacks lock Chris Jack revealed Thursday he was likely responsible for dislocating a referee's shoulder during a bizarre incident at a Test match 16 years ago that saw an irate, pitch-invading South Africa fan charged with assault. 

South Africa fan Pieter van Zyl, incensed by the decision to award a penalty try to the All Blacks and the disqualification of a try by South Africa's Breyton Paulse, ran on to the field as a scrum was being set and wrestled Irish referee David McHugh to the ground.

In a bizarre spectacle, van Zyl was then brought down by All Blacks flanker Richie McCaw and his South African opposite AJ Venter.

When things calmed down, McHugh left the field with a dislocated shoulder and van Zyl, his nose all bloodied, was held to be responsible. 

But Jack told Radio Sport that he and All Blacks prop Dave Hewett were likely responsible for McHugh's painful injury. 

“I popped my head up and there's this big fat bugger on the referee,” Jack recalled. 

“We got a bit of a surprise and then we saw AJ Venter and Richie McCaw on top of someone.

“So myself and Dave Hewett saw the referee under there and saw what was going on and we tried to pull the poor referee out and I think we may have dislocated his shoulder. 

“We started pulling him out and he started squealing a little bit.”

The All Blacks went on to win the Test 30-23 with English linesman Chris White taking over the whistle, while van Zyl was charged with assault to do grievous bodily harm and trespassing.

Agence France-Presse (AFP)