GISBORNE (New Zealand): Rugby union referees protesting a 10-year ban given to a player who severely assaulted a referee will refuse to work matches in the Poverty Bay region this weekend.
Last Friday, Pirates captain and former Poverty Bay prop Pene Fotuaika was given the 10-year ban for striking referee Fred Barwick in a match on April 12. The referees want Fotuaika to receive a life ban.
We are withdrawing our services in support of a fellow referee who was severely injured when assaulted by a rugby player during a game, referees spokesman Colin Shanks said yesterday. We feel that 10 years is far too lax for the crime committed. AP