Waiting game for South Canterbury
The South Canterbury Rugby Union has to wait to learn its fate as Heartland rivals pool their resources to fund an appeal against a penalty imposed on it for breaking player eligibility rules.
Several Heartland union chairmen discussed the matter yesterday and have joined together to seek legal advice on the process and co-fund the appeal.
The appeal will be led by Buller, the original complainant.
The SCRU was docked two championship points and fined $4500 for using four loan players in three games, one more than allowed.
The breaches occurred after Fijian Aporosa Tabulawaki was incorrectly categorised as a local player when he arrived in New Zealand on June 3, after the June 1 qualification date.
It seems rival unions want to know the rationale behind a New Zealand Rugby Union panel docking South Canterbury only two points, rather than the 10 earned while an ineligible player was used.
Poverty Bay chairman Malcolm MacLean said the appeal had nothing to do with South Canterbury so much as the process involved.
"We want our competition to be squeaky clean, we've fought for the rules and everyone should abide by them."
MacLean said at least five or six unions were backing Buller.
"Most of us think the penalty was like being hit with a wet bus ticket. If you go back as far as 1998 East Coast lost all their points. What we are after is consistency and you know South Canterbury have been caught before."
MacLean said fines meant nothing.
"You host a Meads Cup semi or final and you easily get your money back.
"Look we think it is a shame because South Canterbury are good blokes and we enjoyed hosting them up here, but rules are rules."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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