Top rugby team quits season
An Auckland premier rugby team has pulled the pin on its entire Auckland season.
Te Papapa Onehunga rugby club’s decision to call it quits comes just weeks after it appealed a season-long ban received for fielding an ineligible player in 2016.
Te Papapa did not field a team in the first round of the season on Saturday and will not do so for the rest of the season.
The move has thrown the competition a curve-ball as now every team in Pool A of Auckland’s premier competition will get a bye week.
Te Papapa club chairman Chris Skinner said a lack of numbers had put the club in a position where it would not be able to field a premier and reserves side for the whole season.
‘‘We can’t just seem to get them in at the moment,’’ Skinner said.
‘‘It’s more than disappointing. It’s a big blow to many people in the club. You’ve just got to have the right environment and at the moment we just don’t seem to have it.’’
It caps off a tumultuous 12 months for the club.
Te Papapa was handed a season long ban at the start of 2017 after an independent judiciary found they had fielded an ineligible player in 2016.
They appealed the ban and an independent appeals committee reduced the ban meaning Te Papapa would lose just one round of points in 2017.
However, the resulting fallout from the controversy seemed to take its toll on the club.
‘‘The judiciary didn’t help us,’’ Skinner said.
‘‘After the decision we had a few people leave - coaches, management - and then the players disappeared after that and we just haven’t recovered.’’