Wed, Nov 01, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Kiwis might lose Tri-Nations place over Nathan Fien

AFP , WELLINGTON

New Zealand will find out tomorrow if it will lose its rugby league Tri-Nations points and potentially a place in the series final for fielding an ineligible player.

The Rugby League International Federation's (RLIF) executive committee held a conference call yesterday and gave New Zealand until the following day to put its case before announcing a ruling.

The RLIF said in a statement it would determine "any possible consequences" if it was found 27-year-old Australian-born Nathan Fien was ineligible to play for New Zealand.

The loss of competition points is one of the penalties the RLIF could impose, but if it viewed the rules breach less seriously, a fine could be imposed.

The controversy erupted after an admission by the New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL) that the former Queensland State of Origin player was selected for the Kiwis on the basis of having a New Zealand-born great-grandmother. The rules allow for a player to be selected for a country provided they have a grandparent born there.

Fien, who plays at hooker for the New Zealand Warriors, appeared for the Kiwis as a substitute in their 20-5 loss against Australia and started in the 18-14 victory over Great Britain on Saturday.

NZRL chairman Selwyn Bennett had threatened that the Kiwis would boycott the second Test against Great Britain on Nov. 11 if they were stripped of their points from Saturday's win, but later withdrew the threat.

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