Mataura penalised for fielding former All Black

LOGAN SAVORY
Last updated 05:00 16/07/2014
Jimmy Cowan
FAIRFAX NZ
GLORY DAYS: Jimmy Cowan in action for Mataura in a club game in 2008.

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Mataura have had competition points stripped for playing former All Black halfback Jimmy Cowan in their division one club rugby game against Te Anau in Mataura on Saturday.

Cowan is back in New Zealand after playing two years for the Gloucester club in Britain.

The 32-year-old linked back up with his Mataura club on Saturday and was hopeful of playing more games for the Eastern Southland club in the coming weeks.

However, that hope has now been halted.

Rugby Southland community rugby manager Don McFarlane said yesterday Cowan had not been cleared to play for Mataura last Saturday in their 30-24 win over Te Anau.

Mataura had originally indicated Cowan had received a clearance late of Friday night to play but it seems that was not the case.

"His international IRB clearance had not been processed or approved by the NZRU by last Saturday and in fact has still not been approved. by NZRU. He had been cleared by his club and by England but this is only the first step in the process. As a result of him playing, the council of rugby clubs technical committee was asked to investigate, and after speaking with Mataura officials it was agreed that Mataura would default the game played last Saturday," McFarlane said.

Cowan told The Southland Times on Monday he loved getting the opportunity to play for the club where he started out.

"I played against Te Anau on Saturday and had 80 minutes there, it was very rusty I might add. I blew a lot of cobwebs out but it was good to play, it was my first game in seven weeks," he said.

"It was good to get out and play and help out the young fellas at Mataura. It was a great day for rugby, the supporters turned out."

Cowan also added on Monday he wanted to lineup for Mataura in their quarterfinal showdown against Edendale, at Edendale, this Saturday but any hope of that has been quashed.

"In relation to his continuing to play, if and when his IRB clearance is approved, Southland club competition rules dictate that for a player to be eligible to play in finals he needs to be registered and playing in Southland by the 1st of June. Jimmy, along with a number of other players in a range of grades, does not meet this criteria," McFarlane said.

Cowan has signed with the Tasman Makos for this year's national provincial competition and will meet up with his new team for the first time on August 2 when the Makos take on Otago in a pre-season game in Dunedin.

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- The Southland Times

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