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Thread: Former Western Force flyhalf Willie Ripia silent on apology

  1. #1
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    Former Western Force flyhalf Willie Ripia silent on apology

    DISGRACED former Western Force flyhalf Willie Ripia has snubbed his old team and its fans by ignoring an offer to apologise on the anniversary of the flyhalf's expulsion from Perth for stealing from teammates to feed a gambling addiction.

    Just weeks before the start of the 2012 Super Rugby season, the Force were thrown into turmoil when Ripia was caught on camera stealing money from teammates.

    Initially Ripia denied the allegations. But after being confronted with video evidence he confessed and said his actions were to feed a chronic gambling habit.

    The Force did not press criminal charges, choosing instead to whisk Ripia out of the country without the player having to face the media, or the police, to explain his behaviour to Force fans or players.

    The Force never recovered from the shock of Ripia's actions, struggling throughout the season to fill the void at No.10 and crashing to 14th on the ladder, just two points above the bottom-feeding Lions.

    Ripia then surfaced in New Zealand, playing in the ITM Cup for the Bay of Plenty team. The club's chief executive, Mike Rogers, said this week Ripia had volunteered to play for the club without payment.

    Ripia was also named in the Maori All Black team for their UK tour at the end of the season.

    Many fans in Perth may want to question Ripia's sincerity, after he revealed to New Zealand's Sunday News the gravity of his gambling problems last year, but has made no effort to directly reach out to the players he stole from and the fans he betrayed.

    "It is a troubling illness and, at the same time, I am more than ashamed with what I've done, and I don't think there is one word that can explain how embarrassed and sorry I am and also the shame I have brought on myself and more so my family," Ripia said.

    Following Ripia's revelations and plea for sympathy, The Sunday Times contacted his family in Rotorua this week, where all inquiries were referred to his agent, Kent Hale.

    Hale said he would contact Ripia to see whether the player wanted to finally close the chapter by apologising to his former Force teammates and fans and telling his story in an effort to help other problem gamblers seek help for their addiction.

    Yesterday, however, neither Hale nor Ripia could be reached for comment.

    In the interview last August, Ripia revealed he had not gambled since being booted out of the Force and said his secret addiction had escalated to the point where he was feeding it on daily.

    "When I moved to Perth it was so easy to do," he told the Sunday News.

    "It started with pokies. I lost everything really and it got so bad that I couldn't control it.''

    A Force spokesman said this week the club had moved on from the sad affair and did not want to comment on Ripia's reluctance.

    http://www.perthnow.com.au/sport/rug...-1226567390994

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    Legend Contributor Alison's Avatar
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    The guy needs help. Hope he finds it and gets back to his best.

    And, what's with a request for an apology on the anniversary of his expulsion anyway? Seems a bit bizarre to me. Let the guy sort out his problems and leave him alone until then.

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    Bizarre indeed. It's all over now and who asked for the apology. Dale Granger?

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    Immortal Contributor shasta's Avatar
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    Willie who

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    Veteran Contributor hertryk's Avatar
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    "Pokies in Perth (easy to do?) ".... I agree Wilie who???

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  6. #6
    (formerly known as Coach) Your Humble Servant Darren's Avatar
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    They ran with this rather than a round up of the trial game?

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    Yeah, sad huh?

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