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Rugby game result not straightforward

Thursday September 06, 2018 Published in Letters to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Last Saturday afternoon (September 1), I watched the Avatiu-Titikaveka senior rugby match at Avatiu.

I scored the game at 20-all. So did supporters who were sitting near to me.

About 20 minutes after the conclusion of the match, I found out that the referee had signed off on a 23-20 win to Titikaveka. I rang up the Cook Islands Rugby Union development manager Ben Koteka (who was at the match and just left the ground), and he told me that he had scored the game at 23-20 (the result which appeared in Tuesday’s paper). I told him that he had got the score wrong.

I reminded him of a similar situation when Arorangi and Avatiu clashed a few years previously. That match was played at Raemaru Park on July 25, 2009 (no, I do not have a super memory but I had made a note in my diary that year).

The game was signed off as a win to Arorangi 22-20. I scored the game at (ironically) 20-all and remember telling Koteka, who was at that game, that the 22-20 scoreline was incorrect. The result was “restored” to 20-all as it was quite obvious that the signed result was a mistake.

The contentious issue here appears to be related to a penalty attempt by Titikaveka late in the first half. Koteka claims that the penalty was successful. I spoke to both assistant referees and one said the attempt was unsuccessful, the other said it was successful.

However, the key point here is that the game was NOT restarted by the match referee with a kick at the halfway line (Laws of the Game of Rugby Union, Law 13 definition “… Restart kicks occur after a score or a touch down”).

After the penalty attempt, Avatiu scrambled the ball to touch and the game continued with a lineout - the reason why many of the spectators missed the ‘successful’ penalty.

This match ended in a 20-all draw.

I await a response from CIRU on the above.

            Moana Moeka’a

            Ruatonga