Heartland Championship bets on hold - TAB

STU PIDDINGTON
Last updated 05:00 04/10/2012

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The TAB has suspended betting on rugby's Heartland Championship until the New Zealand Rugby Union's investigation into South Canterbury is completed.

South Canterbury appear to have used four loan players on three game days rather than the three allowed. The NZRU hopes to have a decision by Friday but it seems likely South Canterbury will lose 10 championships points earned by using the extra loan player, taking them out of Meads Cup contention.

TAB spokesman John Mitchell said it was no longer taking bets on the competition until a decision was made by the NZRU.

Winning bets paid out would stand even if the NZRU reversed the points, he said. Anyone betting on South Canterbury winning the Meads Cup would not get a refund as the bet would still stand.

The loss of 10 competition points would mean even if South Canterbury won their final two games with a four try bonus point, they would miss the Meads Cup semi-finals as four teams already have 21 points or better, which is the maximum South Canterbury can score.

In fact the competition is so tight the NZRU have sent media reminders of the tie-breaker rules should two or more teams end up on the same points.

It is believed that the player at the centre of the investigation arrived in the country on June 2, a day after the cutoff to be considered a local player under the Heartland Championships rules.

South Canterbury were at $15 to win the Meads Cup when the season started.

In 2010, West Coast were fined $2500 and stripped of their competition points for breaching the eligibility regulations in the game in which the player was involved.

SCRU chairman Brent Isbister could not be contacted yesterday for comment.

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- The Timaru Herald

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