Sunday, April 01, 2007

More heads kicked in the Republic

July 4, 2006

Murray Williams, writing in the Cape Argus, reports more on-field violence in South African club rugby a week after the death of Riaan Loots.

Violent spectators halt rugby match

July 4, 2006

Violence in club rugby in the Western Cape reared its head again when spectators, including a knife-wielding man, invaded a rugby field in Clanwilliam.

This weekend's incident comes a week after the death of 24-year-old Boland rugby star Riaan Loots. [...]

It has also been reported that at least three Boland rugby clubs have withdrawn or are in the process of withdrawing from the Boland rugby league.

Saturday's fight broke out towards the end of the game between the multiracial Clanwilliam Rugby Club and the exclusively coloured Delicious club of Clanwilliam.

Before the game, the players held a minute's silence in memory of Loots, who was buried in Strand on Friday.

"There was a bit of niggle here and there (during the match), but nothing serious," said Clanwilliam coach Arend Redelinghuys. "But with 10-15 minutes remaining in the game, a fight broke out.

"The players would have sorted it out, I'm sure," he said. "But then some spectators ran on to the field to join in. One of our wings, Marcus Greeff, was kicked in the head twice.

"I ran on to the field. It wasn't difficult separating the guys (players). I said to the ref he had better stop the game, that it's a mess now. And he blew his final whistle," Redelinghuys said.

But the violence escalated.

"Then a spectator came running on to the field with a knife. Luckily, their coach saw the guy and ran over and smacked him. If it wasn't for him..."

Redelinghuys insisted the players had not been to blame. After the match, the two teams had still shaken hands and met for a beer.

"The crowds are going to make it impossible for the young guys to play rugby.

"Rugby is very important for the platteland. We play rugby for fun and for pleasure. And we want to take our families and our kids to the games. But now it's just not safe."

Redelinghuys said fencing off the playing area was not an option. "There's no way we're going to fence our fields," he said. "We'd rather not play."

Redelinghuys said he was appalled by the example that adult spectators were setting for children.

"Some parents are now saying the children are not allowed to go to the rugby in case the spectators get out hand."

Redelinghuys said it was difficult to control alcohol abuse as many people arrived at matches after consuming alcohol.

Isaac September, of the Delicious club in Clanwilliam, was not available for comment.

Source: Cape Argus

Note: this is building into it's own soap opera -- everything is being saved into a running chronological archive.


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