Glen Innes-Guyra’s season is set to end prematurely on the eve of the first week of the New England Rugby Union finals.
The GhostStags are scheduled to take on the Barbarians in the minor semi-final this Sunday but may be forced to withdraw from the competition with a host of players unavailable for the clash.
Nine of Glen-Guyra’s players, including the whole front row, are unable to take the field on a Sunday because of their Mormon beliefs.
Even with the nine players, the line-up would still only consist of 16 with others unavailable through injury and suspension.
“There’s no way these guys can play,” Glen Innes-Guyra coach Whata Rogers said.
“It’s not a good way to go out.
The injury cloud hit the team late in the season and was evident in the final round on Saturday when they succumbed to Robb College 51-nil.
It’s a shame but looks at this stage that we will be withdrawing.Whata Rogers
Five new players joined the side for the game against the students with Mone Aho sidelined through suspension and Fergus McIntosh also unavailable.
Rogers met with Barbarians’ officials on Tuesday to see if they could come to an arrangement for a Saturday game but it is unlikely, leaving the GhostStags with no choice but to forfeit.
Scott Waterson from New England Rugby said the organisation were working towards finding the best possible outcome for the clubs involved but at this stage no resolution has been made and the fixtures will remain as per the draw.
“We have spent the last two days working to resolve this issue,” he said.
“We have at this time been unable to come up with a solution that is mutually acceptable and as such, the scheduled times will stand.”
The Guyra Ghosts and Glen Innes Elks combined clubs this year with the aim at taking out a first grade title after the Ghosts played second grade and the Elks missed the finals last year.
Rogers said it was disappointing to finish without actually taking the field for a finals match.
“The spine of the crew, they were all excited because they knew a couple of weeks ago we had made the finals.
“If I had realised earlier the semi-final was scheduled to be on a Sunday, I would have made a bigger effort to get it changed.
“There’s not much we can do about it, it’s been on the draw all year.
“This will have to be changed next year if we are forced out this year for religious reasons. It’s a shame but looks at this stage that we will be withdrawing.”