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Foul play

Maciu Malo
Thursday, February 06, 2014

NATIONAL 7s coach Ben Ryan is unhappy with the kind of tackling employed by some teams in the HSBC IRB Sevens World Series.

The no-nonsense coach said he would show footage of the game between Fiji and New Zealand in Las Vegas to IRB 7s referees to illustrate how lanky forward Pio Tuwai was injured in that game.

Ryan believes this kind of tackling should be banned.

"I am very unhappy with this kind of technique," he said.

"This kind of technique is like a judo throw where the tackler takes the opposing player from the tackle area. It is used globally by big teams and I think it should not be entertained.

"I will show that footage to IRB to have a look at and say whether this kind of tackle should be used."

Tuwai said the issue raised by his mentor should be a wake-up call to the IRB as the matter was never raised by past Fiji 7s team officials.

He praised Ryan for his commitment and guts in challenging match officials on controversial decisions against Fiji.

Tuwai admitted he was a victim of that tackling technique in the game against New Zealand.

He said the same technique was also used against Setefano Cakau and Jimilai Nakaidawa during Fiji's win against New Zealand at the Gold Coast 7s in 2011.

"I was trying to steal a ball in a tackle ball situation when a New Zealand player held me by the waist and twisted me away from the tackle area," said Tuwai of the cause of his injury in the game against New Zealand in Las Vegas.

"This is the first time for any Fiji coach to question this kind of technique against our players.

"In my playing career, I haven't come across a Fijian coach who's questioned match officials over controversial decisions against Fiji and I commend Ben for his bold approach.

"This is a wake-up call for referees, especially against Fiji."

Tuwai said he had recovered from the injury and had started training to secure a spot for the Hong Kong 7s tournament.

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