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Uruguay in hot water over Rugby World Cup nightclub incident

Uruguay's team has already left Japan after being eliminated from the Rugby World Cup (AFP Photo/GABRIEL BOUYS )

Japanese police were investigating on Thursday after Uruguay players at the Rugby World Cup allegedly damaged property and tackled a staff member at a Kumamoto nightclub.

Kumamoto police official Kenji Kawazu told AFP that bar staff said players had broken DJ equipment worth $9,000 and shoved one employee to the floor, leaving him with light injuries.

Japanese media reported other damage in the incident, including from players punching walls and mirrors and tearing apart a stuffed teddy bear.

"We asked two Uruguay individuals to come to the police station on a voluntary basis and questioned them on October 14... one is a person who allegedly poured alcohol on DJ equipment, the other allegedly tackled an employee," Kawazu said.

World Rugby said it was "aware of an alleged incident involving members of the Uruguay team in a Kumamoto bar".

"The alleged matter is very disappointing and clearly does not align with the family spirit of the tournament, characterised by the special warmth of welcome between the fans, teams and Japanese public," a statement said.

"An apology has been made on behalf of the tournament and it would be inappropriate to further comment while the facts are being established."

Kawazu said police were called to the bar at 4:00 am on Monday. He said they were "investigating carefully, analysing video and other evidence, to decide if the case constitutes 'property destruction'".

There was no immediate comment from Uruguay, and their official Twitter feed made no mention of the allegations, featuring only images of the team arriving back home.

The Rugby World Cup, which began last month, has largely passed off without incident, despite some raised eyebrows in often-reserved Japan over the occasionally rambunctious behaviour of fans on public transport and elsewhere.

Uruguay won wide praise for their shock 30-27 win over highly fancied Fiji at the World Cup, but exited after they finished bottom of Pool D.