Capital rugby must take stock

Normal, Sports

The National, Thursday 23rd August, 2012

Commentary by KEITH PUARIA
NOVA club president Tracy Tiran’s criticism of the new Port Moresby’s Capital Rugby Union (CRU) for failing to keep its promise of a better-managed competition generated a great uproar the other day.
Tiran was told there were channels and processes to express her dissatisfaction besides going to the media, and that she and Nova were sore losers for blaming the loss on the referee, and her views painted a bad image of rugby union and the CRU.
Some members of the club even called on her to apologise for tarnishing Nova’s and the CRU’s image.
Anyone truly concerned for the game will wonder how people can pick their image ahead of doing the right thing for the game.
Are we saying we are happy to sweep these issues under the carpet to save our images?
For a quality game of rugby to be played under a well-managed competition, it needs a proactive competition and not the knee-jerk reactions Tiran’s views have generated.
Tiran was one of the few people who rigorously requested time and again, throughout the season, for the CRU and the competition management to sit down and address these issues.
There never was a meeting, just defensive responses that did not do the competition any good or result in any decision.
I feel for Tiran, for what transpired over what she felt needed to be said ‘for rugby’.
So what Nova lost and is out of the finals now.
There is nothing Tiran could have said or done to get a rematch for her club.
To add to it all, she had a sponsor who put its hard-earned K50,000 into backing the club.
But when that backer shows up at the field only to see its premier side lose because of some ‘volunteer’ referee’s unfamiliarity with the International Rugby Board (IRB) ruling for a player diving into a ruck from the side, you start to wish you had the answers.
As a result of Tiran’s comments and for the benefit of the clubs in the next round of finals, the CRU has reportedly gone in search of quality referees.
Good for them, hard luck Nova.
People have to look at the bigger reasons rather than the narrow-minded view that has been the essence of why rugby union in Port Moresby and the country is what it is today – a torn fraternity and a torn game.
Do not forget, issues like this are the very reasons why the competition is split in the country’s biggest rugby union and remains so to this day.
One of the game’s own has come out and pointed to a problem so we can fix it for a better future.
Bad publicity now maybe, but what it does for the future counts a lot.
The CRU was all about making a difference for rugby union in Port Moresby, and here it is, at a crossroads where how it handles its perceived shortcomings will shape the future of the sport.
l Keith Puaria, a former Pukpuk, is a sports reporter for The National.