Punch-up: No apology from school

2010-05-20 10:21

Pietermaritzburg - The man whose son was allegedly assaulted by a Hilton College parent at a rugby match at Hilton on Saturday, is yet to receive any formal apology from the elite school.

Wayne Wilson, the Maritzburg College parent who intervened when he saw Rob Dent go onto the field to break apart rumbling boys and punched Wilson's son in the process, also revealed that he had been approached by other prominent Hilton College old boys who wanted to broker a peace deal between him and Dent.

He said he was being pressured to meet with Dent, but was holding back on any interaction until he had met his attorney late on Wednesday.
"I have not received any official apology for what happened from Hilton College, despite having hundreds of phone calls from all over the country and from people overseas since the article appeared in Monday's Witness."

Approached for comment, Dent who has now been banned from sport at Hilton College for a year, said he was mortified by the incident.

"What I did was wrong. It's a hell of a mess and an embarrassing situation for me."

'I'm not crazy'

He said he was talking to his wife, who is overseas, on his cellphone when he saw the rugby players fighting in a brawl - not the first in the match.

He said he reacted to stop the brawl as one would “if an old lady’s handbag had been stolen”.

"I am not a crazy person.

"I am not trying to clear my name. I will take the ban on the chin. I actually suggested to the school that they ban me."

He said he was embarrassed that people he knew, including his staff, had heard of the incident in the media and on television.

Dent said he went to Durban on Tuesday to try and meet with Wilson to meet him face to face and apologise, but to no avail.

Dent, a Hilton College Old Boy, admitted he has tainted the name of the school. "We all go through bad things. Life is a funny thing."

Maritzburg College principal Ron Jury said on Wednesday that Dent has apologised to the school.

Principals concerned

He said he had discussions with Gavin Thompson, the Hilton principal, on Saturday afternoon and on Monday, "and we were both obviously concerned about what had transpired on Saturday morning".

"Robert Dent phoned me … and apologised for his part in the fracas. I accepted his apology. I have also discussed the incident with Wilson, who has apologised for any embarrassment caused to Maritzburg College. I have accepted his apology," said Jury.

Wilson confirmed that he had spoken to Jury.

"We … don't condone parents getting involved in disagreements between players and have a Code of Conduct for Spectators …. The Hilton programme also warned spectators to remain behind red lines painted around fields during matches.

"Incidents such as the one that occurred this weekend are extremely rare and the norm is that matches between Maritzburg College and Hilton College, as well as our other regular opponents, are played in a great spirit."

Hilton principal Thomson said Dent has accepted the decision to ban him from the school's sports fields for the rest of the year. Thomson called the fight "both unedifying and embarrassing".

"Investigations, unfortunately, have revealed that the events that led to the fracas between two parents had been initiated by actions of the Hilton parent.

"Rob Dent made a remorseful apology to Maritzburg College on Monday morning, which was accepted by Ron Jury, who replied that as far as his school is concerned, this matter is closed.”

He said following a meeting with Dent, the school banned him from attending any sporting fixtures involving the school for the next year.