IRB match official an “idiot” says Samoa’s PM
by Lance Polu
APIA: Monday 02 July 2012: The IRB referees have again come under fire from the Prime Minister and Chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union, Tuilaepa Fatialofa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi. In his weekly radio interview he referred to the IRB match official that ruled what could have been a decisive Manu Samoa try as out of the field of play, as an “idiot”.
The match in question is the Manu Samoa vs Scotland test at Apia Park where the local team was on attack and looking to score its second and decisive try. But was ruled by the Australian match official Ivan Smith as out of the field of play. At the time, winger Paul Perez had scooped up the ball and was way clear of any defender and the decision brought a dissatisfied crowd to its feet.
Tuilaepa was overseas at the time attending the Rio Conference on Climate Change. But he referred to the TV evidence “that showed that even though the tackled player was out of the field of play he had placed the ball inside.”
He said its hard to believe that in broad daylight, and in full view of everyone the IRB match officials seems to be still under a cloud of discrimination to disadvantage a team that is on the rise.
The Samoa Rugby Union has tendered an official complaint of the incident with the IRB but any decision will not change the outcome of the match.
Scotland snatched the game by 17-16 points and resulted in Manu Samoa falling a step from 9 to 10 in the IRB ratings.
Tuilaepa also said there are several other things that need to be improved in order for the Manu Samoa to play any future test at the Apia Park. These include a proper match clock (the Scotland vs Manu Samoa match was played without a clock on the score board). He also made noise about the need for a loud siren to indicate halftime and the end of a test match. “Because if the referee continues the match unnecessarily because he didn’t hear the siren, then perhaps a stone on his head should be justfied,” he said.
The performance of match officials in Manu Samoa’s games in last years World Cup in New Zealand caused alot of stir even bringing in players such as international twitter Eliota Sapolu to be bitterly critical of the IRB game schedules and match officials and has cost him what’s left of his international rugby career.
Manu Samoas Head Coach Stephen Betham has said that “we need to voice these things to tell them we are not sleeping.”