Good Article on All Blacks Debacle

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First Grader
So who's swinging handbags now?
By Peter Jenkins
June 2, 2006

NEW Zealand stands red-faced this week, the laughing stock of world rugby union.

First it stages the Super 14 final no-one could see after ignoring repeated warnings not to chance the fickle weather in the South Island by playing major matches at night.

Then it has to haul in Hurricanes flanker Chris Masoe - after he punched a pub patron in the face - only to slap him with a punishment so light it was almost as laughable as the big bloke being belted by Tana Umaga wielding a woman's handbag.

Masoe copped a $2500 fine. No suspension, no standing down from the All Blacks and no threat of a contract being shredded.

The back-rower, stripped of his pride by Umaga's attack, surely reacted to the penalty with a snigger. It would have been a welcome relief after Umaga reduced him to tears with the handbag walloping at the Jolly Poacher around 7am the morning after the 'Canes lost to the Crusaders in the Super 14 decider.

Umaga escaped any censure. At least the New Zealand Rugby Union got that one right.

The former All Blacks skipper, knew Masoe was out of order. He knew the potential damage his teammate had caused by lashing out at a member of the public.

Umaga reached for the nearest object to pull Masoe into line.

It happened to be the handbag. Two blows to Masoe's head - sufficiently hard enough to smash a mobile phone inside - were some sense into the flanker.

But what of Masoe? His fine was appallingly light and, not for the first time this season, Waratahs winger Wendell Sailor must be wondering if the tough stance the Australian Rugby Union took over his shenanigans three months ago are a one-off in the game.
Sailor has more to worry about now after the positive drug test that threatens to end his career. But he was annoyed in March when banned for three games and forced to cough up $12,000 in fines and game payments over an incident in South Africa.

A night out on the town the day before a game in which he was not playing because of injury led to Sailor drinking too much.

He had an argument with a pub patron and pushed him. Unlike with Masoe, there was no punch.

The Waratahs sent him home in disgrace, imposed a one-match ban and fined him $500. Unimpressed, the ARU added two games and a further $3500 to the penalty.

Masoe's indiscretion was far more violent and unforgivable. But the NZRU went wobbly at the knees, posting a fine so weak it suggested they were wielding handbags themselves.

As for the ongoing blunders in hosting night matches in Christchurch once the weather turns frosty, what odds another debacle when the Wallabies play there on July 8 in the season's opening Bledisloe Cup encounter

Main Game asked ARU boss Gary Flowers if Australia would push to have the game moved to an afternoon timeslot.

He suggested it was too late to have this year's schedule altered, but he would raise the subject.


He makes a fair point.
The All Blacks are treated like gods in NZ and I suppose in some respects are a protected species.


Reserve Grader
No consistency allright! How about Tevita Latu he gets thrown from the NRL for life for punching a woman, Masoe gets a $2500 fine for punching a man. Sure you don't go round smacking women - I AM NOT SUPPORTING what Latu did - but isn't assault, assault!!!

The Wheel
Premium Member
Good point Ants although rightly or wrongly I guess there is difference between the two


There were sufficient witnesses' for the guy who got punched to have Masoe charged with assault.

At last he would receive some money for being punched in the head and Masoe would receive a harder punishment like a good behavour bond.

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