Marlborough Express

‘It’s incredibly incompeten­t’ – Wall


Louisa Wall has labelled NZ Rugby’s decision to schedule an All Blacks test during the Blacks Ferns’ World Cup quarterfin­al as ‘‘incredibly incompeten­t’’.

Former Black Ferns player and ex-labour MP Wall has joined Justice Minister Kiri Allan in criticisin­g NZ Rugby after it was revealed the governing body had scheduled the All Blacks test against Japan to be played at a similar timeslot to the Black Ferns’ playoff match against Wales tomorrow.

The All Blacks’ test in Tokyo will start at 6.50pm (NZT). The Black Ferns game will begin at 7.30pm.

NZ Rugby has admitted it didn’t take into account the World Cup quarterfin­al schedule when agreeing with Japan Rugby to play the All Blacks game 40 minutes before the Black Ferns kick off their quarterfin­al.

‘‘I think it’s an indication that NZ Rugby puts the All Blacks above anything,’’ Wall, who played 15 tests for the Black Ferns between 1994 and 1999, told Newstalk ZB.

‘‘So, a game for the All Blacks is more important than a [Black Ferns] quarterfin­al in the Rugby World Cup. That’s pretty bad.’’

Given it was known since May last year that the Black Ferns would play in a quarterfin­al at this time, provided they qualified, NZ Rugby had time to play the All Blacks-japan game at a different time.

Wall was unimpresse­d.

‘‘So it’s incredibly incompeten­t, and if I was the governor [of NZ Rugby] I would want to know exactly why and how this happened,’’ Wall told Newstalk ZB. Allan was also angry. ‘‘@Nzrugby, this clash was avoidable, and frankly, disgracefu­l,’’ Allan tweeted on Wednesday.

Wall said Black Ferns fans were miffed because they wanted their team to be given priority during the global tournament in New Zealand.

Sky Sport will screen the All Blacks match, while Spark Sport will screen the Black Ferns game. Delayed footage of the Black Ferns fixture will be played on Newshub tomorrow night. While there’s nothing to prevent consumers from watching the Black Ferns live on Spark Sport, Wall said NZ Rugby should have done better from the outset.

‘‘The individual has a choice,’’ she said. ‘‘But I think this was an organisati­onal choice, that was a fundamenta­l issue.

‘‘They are trying to say it was a simple mistake. But when you value something, you don’t make mistakes like this,’’ she told Newstalk ZB.

Wall said she has access to both sports channels, so could watch the first half of the All Blacks game before switching over to the Black Ferns.

‘‘What I am hoping is that all the pubs and clubs will do exactly what I do,’’ Wall said.

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