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Tonga coach says refs are racist towards them


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Tonga Rugby coach Mana Otai says that Pacific Island teams are being unfairly penalized for their physical play after his team lost 36-27 to Canada over the weekend.

Canada were on a high as four days after a first-ever win over Fiji, a Canada team with 10 changes was helped when Tonga prop Eddie Aholelei was sent off for fighting in the 34th minute.

Two more Tongans were sin-binned for shoulder charges.

“I couldn’t really see why (the yellow cards were issued),” Otai said after reviewing tape of the incidents.

“It’s almost like, these days you know, when a black man is tackling harder than the other, it seems to be the way.”

Asked if Pacific Island teams were being singled out, he said: “Absolutely. It’s a perception a lot of times.

“And I think some of the foreigners that are involved in our team now are starting to see that. “

“It’s just hard to battle or fight that stereotype, I guess. “

“But I’m not taking away the fact that at times we do, I guess, make mistakes in terms of tackling – if I’m talking in general.”

“But in today’s game, I couldn’t justify the two yellow cards.”

Canada coach Kieran Crowley declined to debate the merits of the Tongan incidents.

“It was a physical game,” the former All Black said.

“We’ve got a few boys walking around pretty wounded in there and we’ve got to keep an eye on a couple of them, I think.”


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