Roskill team pays dearly

Central Leader - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

Mem­bers of an un­der-17 rugby team are heart­bro­ken af­ter be­ing pulled from a semi­fi­nal ear­lier this month for un­wit­tingly field­ing an over-aged player.

The Roskill Dis­tricts team were re­placed by Eden Gold, who went on to win against Eden Black and go through to the fi­nal.

A mother of one of the af­fected boys, Lisila Stow­ers, says the 18-year-old fielded in an ear­lier match had told them he was 17.

He only turned out once dur­ing the sea­son, and didn’t pro­vide a birth cer­tifi­cate or pass­port de­spite be­ing asked for it.

It later be­came ap­par­ent the player was 18 af­ter he was recog­nised by op­pos­ing play­ers.

“We thought he was telling the truth,” she says.

“The boys are heart­bro­ken and frus­trated.”

Mrs Stow­ers be­lieves other clubs have fielded over-age play­ers this sea­son and haven’t been pun­ished, while her son’s team have been un­fairly tar­geted.

She is also an­noyed that even­tual fi­nal­ists Waitakere Ma­roon and Eden Gold were in­volved in a brawl ear­lier this sea­son but are still al­lowed to con­test the ti­tle.

“What can we do? We have been pushed away and shut out.”

Auck­land Rugby Union club rugby man­ager Matt McHardy is con­fi­dent there are no other cases of over-aged play­ers tak­ing part in the un­der-17 com­pe­ti­tion.

He does say there was an in­ci­dent be­tween Waitakere Ma­roon and Eden Gold at the start of the sea­son, along with sev­eral prob­lems at other clubs.

How­ever he says man­agers from all the teams were called to­gether soon af­ter and told what be­hav­iour was ex­pected of their sides.

“Both teams that made the fi­nal haven’t put a foot wrong since.”

Roskill dis­tricts chair­woman Jo Moore says she feels for play­ers who have put in plenty of hard work all sea­son.

“We’ve got a lot of re­ally shat­tered chil­dren.”

But she says the club didn’t have enough time to sort things out be­fore the semi­fi­nal.

“I hear where the coaches are com­ing from. If we’d had more time we could have done some­thing.”

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