Racism, assaults mar rugby game

2009-08-03 08:51

Johannesburg - Players apparently whipped out their knives at a club rugby match over the weekend, threatening to kill the opposition after they allegedly made racist comments and punched their captain so severely that he lost consciousness.

"It's been a long time since I was that scared," Inspector Bokkie Keulder, head coach of Wanderers rugby club's first team, told Beeld on Sunday.

"I've seen some horrendous things during police activities, but these guys were tough. Where on earth have you ever heard about players being armed at a rugby match?"

Yet Reynald Isaacs, club manager of the Eldoranians - the opposition - denied that his players were armed with knives. He accused the Wanderers players of racism.

Rough match

According to him, a Wanderers player assaulted JP Luyt, captain of the Eldoranians, to such an extent that he was admitted to the Mulbarton hospital with serious facial wounds and concussion.

"Among others, their one prop called JP a 'hotnot' and beat him so severely that he was unconscious for three minutes.

According to Keulder, who is also the spokesperson for Linden police station, the two teams started their game on the Wanderers field at 16:00.

"It was quite a rough match, full of shoving and pushing and also punches. Eldo players continually swore at and shoved one of our forwards.

"By the second half it had become so bad that the referee decided to stop the game."

Isaacs said the game was stopped after Luyt lost consciousness following the assault.

"Their players were very aggressive. Our guys didn't have weapons, but some of the pieces of steel pipe - which had been lying alongside the field - were picked up in order to protect themselves. Their players are big and would have been able to seriously hurt us."

According to Keulder, the Wanderers players went to their changing room when the match was stopped.

'Armed with knives and threatening to kill us'

"However, they (the Eldoranians) were blocking the doors to the changing room, armed with knives and threatening to kill us."

Keulder called the police, who arrived within minutes.

"The players started disappearing one by one, but they (the police) still had to escort our captain off the field for his own safety."

Isaacs said an assault charge had been laid at the Bramley police station against the Wanderers prop.

Neither he nor Keulder wanted to mention the player's name, but according to Isaacs, he should be arrested on Monday.

"I'm actually quite frustrated and hurt by Keulder's allegations, since their players landed our captain in hospital and then ran away when the police showed up."

Keulder said they are considering whether to lay a charge of assault and crimen injuria.

"We will definitely also submit a complaint to the Golden Lions Rugby Union."

'That's not what rugby is about'

Wynand Moolman, manager of amateur rugby at this union, said they will deal with the matter once the complaint is submitted this week.

"It will then be referred to the disciplinary committee, who, along with the referee, will investigate the matter."

Moolman said they were quite aggrieved about the fighting.

"That's not what rugby is about. Unfortunately there are often individuals within teams who can't behave themselves, and we will take action against those players."