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This deadline refers to eligibility to play in USA Rugby’s playoffs. USA Rugby’s rules allow, however, for territorial and geographic unions to have stricter rules. As it turns out, the West RFU indeed does have stricter rules. The Bombers, who lost to Glendale in the West semis, protested that result, arguing that Malifa should not have been allowed to play.
The West RFU upheld that protest. Glendale appealed to USA Rugby’s Club
Strategic Committee, arguing that a) USA Rugby said Malifa was OK to play,
and b) officials at the West RFU playoffs allowed him to play, also.
That appeal was upheld, and Glendale was cleared to move on. However, St. Louis appealed that decision, and an appellate panel of Gary Heavner, John Coppinger, and Farrah Douglas ruled in St. Louis’s favor, saying that even though the WRFU allowed Malifa to play, they shouldn’t have, and Glendale, which erred in some of their waiver application paperwork, were still liable.
Glendale Head Coach Andre Snyman was understandably displeased, but said the club will accept the ruling and take no further action.
“It wasn’t our intention to play an ineligible player,” said Snyman. “And we understood that he’d received a waiver and was given the OK to play. Now a whole team is cut down over this.”