IRB probe Samoa PM's comments
July 14, 2012
Samoa celebrate winning the Pacific Nations Cup this summer © Getty Images
The International Rugby Board are investigating comments made by Samoa prime minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi in which he said hitting a Test referee with a rock might be justified.
Malielegaoi is also chairman of the Samoa Rugby Union and the IRB has written to them requesting "urgent clarification" of the comments which could be in breach of IRB regulations.
During a radio broadcast on Samoa's Radio 2AP, Malielegaoi hit out at officials who were in charge of the country's June 23 Test against Scotland. He described them as "idiots" and suggested that the Samoa team suffered racial discrimination. Malielegaoi said: "If the siren sounds and the referee continues the match unnecessarily, then a rock hitting his head would be justified."
Samoa lost the match 17-16 with Rob Harley scoring a last minute try, which was converted by Greig Laidlaw.
In an email, published in the Samoa Observer newspaper on Saturday, IRB head of communications, Dominic Rumbles, wrote: "Regarding the alleged comments, the IRB has written to the [Samoa Rugby Union] requesting urgent clarification. There will be no other public comment until the information requested has been received."
Malielegaoi's response was to welcome the investigation, saying. "I am happy that they have responded. The whole purpose of my comments was to draw the attention of the IRB and also those boys who are in charge of selecting referees. I wanted that the attention be drawn to the consistent breaches when it comes to Manu Samoa [the Samoa national team]."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
With the deadline for World Cup ticket applications now over, Tom May outlines his hopes, gripes and wishes for next year's global gathering
Floundering Leicester, exquisite Exeter and two old England players tearing up trees - it's the Monday Maul
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship and all the domestic action from the northern hemisphere
Chris Robshaw talks to Tom Hamilton about mental and physical preparation and coping with pressure ahead of the World Cup