Samoan PM in hot water after suggesting referee should be hit in the head with a rock
Everyone gets angry at the referee from time to time, but is there any situation where hitting a referee with a rock would be justified? Yes, according to the Samoan Prime Minister.
Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi – who has one of those names that make you glad you can use the copy and paste function – is in hot water with the International Rugby Board (IRB) over comments made about a referee after a defeat to Scotland last month.
Malielegaoi, who is also chairman of the Samoan Rugby Union, went to town on the officials in charge of the game in a rant on a Samoan radio station, calling them “idiots” and accusing them of racial discrimination towards the Samoa players.
Serious enough accusations, you might think, but it gets worse. Referring to the controversial last-gasp Rob Harley try, which was converted by Greig Laidlaw for a single-point victory for Scotland, Malielegaoi said: "If the siren sounds and the referee continues the match unnecessarily, then a rock hitting his head would be justified."
Understandably, the IRB haven’t taken too kindly to the Prime Minister’s comments and have written to the Samoan Rugby Union looking for “urgent clarification” of comments that could be in breach of IRB regulations.
An e-mail sent by IRB head of communications Dominic Rumbles was published in the Samoa Observer newspaper on Saturday and read: "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."
The Samoan PM is unruffled by the IRB’s response, however, and feels that the investigation into his bizarre comments can only help correct the injustices he believes Samoa have been a victim of in the past.
"I am happy that they have responded,” he said.
“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]."
It’s one thing to crusade for the rights of your country’s rugby team, but another thing entirely to suggest that it would be justified to hit a referee in the head with a rock, regardless of how infuriating his decisions may be.
We await the IRB’s response with interest.