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Wait for it, wait for it - the Pope's not dead


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Wait for it, wait for it - the Pope's not dead

26 July 2005


It was every Catholic's worst nightmare – and a hardy Wairarapa footy player's: the Pope's death announced as the kicker prepared his run-up in the last minutes of a semifinal.

The ground announcer's quip in the Wairarapa-Bush club rugby semifinal might have helped cost Marist a place in the final.

Marist's Paddy Rimene was lining up a penalty kick in front of the posts – aiming to give Marist a victory over Gladstone. The score was 10-10.

Moments before his run-up, a voice over the loudspeaker declared the Pope had died in a car accident. As Rimene's kick bounced off the post, the loudspeaker announced the Pope was in fact fine and the accident was only a fender bender.

Gladstone won 13-10, with a penalty conversion in extra time.

Mr Rimene – who usually nails his kicks – admitted being "really annoyed" by the comments. However, the Wairarapa rugby veteran, who is not a Catholic, did not entirely blame the announcement for the missed kick. "I'd love to say, `Yeah, it was his fault,' but I should have got it anyway. I should have blocked it out. But then, it's not the sort of thing you expect to hear when you're lining up a kick."

The announcer approached him after the game to apologise but after a few beers, Mr Rimene thought it better not to give him a piece of his mind. "Next time I see him I'll be letting him know it's not nice."

Despite plenty of reaction, Marist has not made an official complaint.

Wairarapa-Bush Rugby Union chief executive Phil Taylor said it was slightly over the top. "The day was organised and orchestrated by the Gladstone club and they were masters of their day if you like."


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