Delayed flight robs Titans of final shot


The Tasman Titans have missed out on a spot in the South Island Inter-Districts rugby league finals after their opposition didn’t show up and the competition’s governing body labelled the match a draw.
The Southland Rams had their flight from Invercargill cancelled on Friday night, and the decision was agreed by both parties to accept a default.
With Southland sitting second on six competition points, and Tasman third, needing a win and to make up a 36 point differential to sneak ahead, Titans coach Phil Bergman was under the assumption the default would leap frog his side ahead of the southerners if they were given a default 30-0 win.
But instead, a 30-30 draw was decided, robbing his side of a chance to win back the title they won against Southland last year.
“It’s bitterly disappointing,” Phil says. “The unfortunate thing about this whole fiasco is that a team can default and somehow reach the final ahead of us.”
When questioned whether he was annoyed at the situation, Phil’s frustrations were aimed at the rule book rather than the opposition.
“It’s in the rules and they get interpreted by a board. In a case a few weeks earlier the West Coast defaulted to them [Southland] and they received the two points and a 30 point differential. Had that been applied in this case, which I can’t see a reason why it wasn’t, we would also have been awarded the two points, the 30 point differential and we’d be in the final against Canterbury Development.”
The ruling now sees Tasman end the competition in fourth place behind the Otago Whalers, a position Phil says doesn’t reflect the 2013 season. “We just needed that last game. We just wanted a go. It all feels very empty and I’m disappointed that we just didn’t get a crack.”