Two players sent off during Rakaia’s upset win over Southern in the final round of the Watters Cup last weekend will not feature in the competition’s finals.
Rakaia’s Seta Koroitamana and Southern’s Ryan Williams both appeared in front of the Mid Canterbury Rugby judiciary on Wednesday night to contest the automatic two-match stand down that came with a red card, and find out whether they’d be able to play a part in the business end of Mid Canterbury Rugby’s biggest competition.
The answer for both, was no.
Both players were handed two-week suspensions, meaning when their teams meet in a Watters Cup semi-final at Hinds tomorrow, they wouldn’t be there, and whichever team progressed to the final would also be missing their services the following week.
Both players received red cards in a dramatic, heated final round match at the Rakaia Domain on Saturday, in which Rakaia upset Southern 48-24, where the referee showed six cards in total.
The result dropped Southern from the top of the table down into second, and secured Rakaia third spot, meaning the two sides would meet again this weekend to find out just who would go on to meet Celtic in the Watters Cup final next weekend.
Celtic were second on the table heading into the final round, but Southern’s loss and Celtic’s win over Methven catapulted the green machine into first spot, giving them a week off ahead of what would be their first Watters Cup final since 2012.
Who they face in that final will be decided tomorrow.
With their seasons on the line, both Rakaia and Southern contested the red cards their players received last weekend.
Williams received the second of six yellow cards in the game, while Koroitamana received the third late in the game for collapsing the maul, which also resulted in Southern being awarded a penalty try.
Three more yellow cards followed soon after when a melee broke out between a couple of players.
Williams and Rakaia’s Sam Cati were the two at the centre of the action, and both were yellow carded, while Koroitamana – who was meant to already be in the sinbin – was also yellow carded again after returning to the field when the incident occurred.
Because they were second yellow cards for both Williams and Koroitamana, both automatically became red cards.
It was the second year in a row that Koroitamana had found himself in danger of missing Mid Canterbury rugby’s big show.
In the round robin match between Rakaia and Southern last season, Koroitamana was also yellow carded.
That was his third yellow card of the season which meant an automatic one-match stand down, but Rakaia contested it on the grounds that two of those cards followed team warnings rather than dirty play on Koroitamana’s part.
Koroitamana went on to feature in the big final last year – between Southern and Rakaia – and scored two tries, although Southern won the game 35-21 to take home the Watters Cup.