Ripia caught stealing, resigns

2012-01-11 08:17
Willie Ripia (Gallo Images)

Perth - New Zealand rugby player Willie Ripia has resigned from Australia's Western Force Super Rugby club after he was allegedly caught stealing from team-mates, reports said Wednesday.

Ripia, 26, was captured on CCTV last week taking players' money in the changing rooms at the Force's Perth headquarters, the West Australian newspaper reported.

The club issued a statement on Tuesday saying Ripia would not be part of the Western Force squad in 2012 after the club agreed to accept the flyhalf's resignation, effective immediately.

"The club has investigated a serious breach of team protocols by the New Zealand born fly-half and following a meeting this morning with senior management, Ripia offered his resignation later in the day," the statement said.

It did not give details of Ripia's "serious breach".

The West Australian newspaper said Force players had been complaining to management about losing money for several months and although Ripia was suspected of taking the cash he repeatedly denied involvement.

The loss of Ripia is a blow to the Force's finals aspirations. The Super Rugby season is less than seven weeks away and the team has already lost Wallaby back James O'Connor to the Melbourne Rebels.

A spokesperson for Ripia's management declined to comment.


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