Fiji Time: 8:43 PM on Sunday 23 July

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / Sport

Kiwis reprimanded for brawl, Vunibaka banned

Nzherald
Saturday, May 20, 2017

THE New Zealand rugby sevens team escaped with a severe reprimand for their part in an ugly all-in brawl with Fiji at the 2002 round of the International Rugby Board (IRB) World Series circuit in Chile.

Fearing they could be fined, lose competition points or even be suspended from the series by the IRB for misconduct, New Zealand were simply cautioned and "severely reprimanded" by an IRB judicial hearing.

Fiji was censured for fighting with Samoa earlier in that tournament, and lost the 12 competition points gained at Santiago event.

However, Fiji's Canterbury and Crusaders wing Marika Vunibaka was banned from all rugby for 12 weeks after being cited for punching Amasio Valence.

The blow ignited a free-for-all soon after the final whistle of that Sunday's semi-final, won by New Zealand 19-17.

The ban, which expired on March 31, 2002 effectively meant Vunibaka missed the Crusaders' first five matches of the Super 12 campaign.

Vunibaka's ban was the maximum allowed under the tournament procedures and effectively ruled the wing out of the next five rounds of the sevens tournament had he not had Super 12 commitments.

The judicial hearing, headed by Chilean lawyer Mario Torres Skarpa, first considered punishments for the teams on that Monday with lengthy deliberations.

The teams moved on to Argentina for the third leg of the tournament in Mar del Plata that weekend.

The New Zealand Rugby Football Union were relieved at the outcome of the hering with then chief executive David Rutherford reiterating the team had been told by the union and management their conduct was unacceptable.

"Everyone understands how bad the incident was," he said.

Rutherford admitted Chris Masoe, who stomped on a Fijian player, was lucky not to be cited but added the NZRFU could not take any action against the player because he was not brought before the judiciary.

New Zealand, the reigning title holders, led the standings at that point with 40 points ahead of Samoa and South Africa who were tied for second on 24.

New Zealand won the first two rounds.

The IRB also issued a directive to all unions, teams and players that misconduct would not be tolerated.

It would also review the tournament's independent judicial process and consider the possible introduction of stiffer penalties.

The incident did not affect the New Zealand team's chances of winning the sports team of the year award at the 2002 Halberg Awards.

Halberg Trust executive director Dave Currie said the fight "was obviously a bit nasty" but the awards were judged on the last calendar year.

"The awards are about performance and how people conduct themselves, but it would have to be extraordinarily serious and pretty grim to have an impact on the awards," he said.

The sevens team is up against the women's double and quadruple scull rowing team plus the Tall Blacks men's basketball team.








Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Westpac
Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.63190.6129
JPY 56.703853.7038
GBP 0.38510.3771
EUR 0.43100.4190
NZD 0.68430.6513
AUD 0.63360.6086
USD 0.50330.4863

from

$0.00

Exchange Rate updated on 21st, July, 2017

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Police detain chief
  2. Ovalau school makes Deans rugby finals
  3. Village has own brand
  4. Travel is a struggle
  5. West festival raises awareness on climate change
  6. Faith-based impact
  7. Improve skills and accuracy
  8. Ministry awaits full results of WHO probe
  9. Climate threat not new
  10. Rehabilitation works finish

Top Stories this Week

  1. Cane field murder Tuesday (18 Jul)
  2. Body of baby found in Nabua Wednesday (19 Jul)
  3. No threat, says RFMF Monday (17 Jul)
  4. Journals from the UK Friday (21 Jul)
  5. Former soldier seeks forgiveness Tuesday (18 Jul)
  6. Mother and children perish in fire Thursday (20 Jul)
  7. Space to share Thursday (20 Jul)
  8. $30m absence Monday (17 Jul)
  9. Baber hunts for speedsters Friday (21 Jul)
  10. Radradra in for RLWC Tuesday (18 Jul)