27 Jun 2013

Sport: Tonga coach dumbfounded by refereeing decision in Canada game

11:23 am on 27 June 2013

Tonga rugby coach Mana Otai accepts his choice of words following the Pacific Nations Cup loss to Canada could have been better but says his issue with the officiating in that match still stands.

'Ikale Tahi prop Eddie Aholelei was sent off for punching during the match in Kingston and centre Sione Piukala and replacement David Halaifonua Tonga were both yellow-carded for dangerous tackles.

Speaking to the Canadian Press after the match, Otai accused officials of treating his players differently because of the colour of their skin.

The International Rugby Board launched an investigation into the comments and he subsequently apologised.

Otai says the word while the word 'black' may be considered racist in other cultures, in Tonga it is not.

He accepts his choice of words was wrong but says he still disagrees with the decisions on the field.

"There were other issues in the game [in] which other people made the same offence from the opposition, which I did cite, but nothing was done to it - that was my concern. You know a brawl and the three officials couldn't call any number from the Canadian side - I can't work that out. That was the reasons why I made the comment and it's wasn't to do with being racist, it's just called not fair."