VC fight – A time to learn

Sport24 columnist Tank Lanning (File)
Sport24 columnist Tank Lanning (File)
So Pukke fan, Irini Agathagelou, goes from posting a picture of her with a black eye on Facebook insisting that Carte Blanche look into a case of abuse against her by Ikeys rugby player Kyle Kriel, to not even reporting it to the police, let alone laying a charge against him!

GALLERY: UCT win Varsity Cup

VIDEO: Varsity Cup final - highlights

“There is even video evidence” said Agathagelou in her Facebook post, since removed. Yes, my dear, video evidence that shows you to be a bunny boiler that joined a fight between a few intoxicated and pepper sprayed ruby players by beating one of them on the head repeatedly with your shoe!

And much like the woman that cries rape after a night of consensual sex that she is perhaps not so proud of, so it seems Agathagelou, no doubt trying to prove to mommy and daddy that she was just an innocent bystander on the night, cried woman abuse.

What an incredible dis-service to those woman that actually suffer this scourge on our society!

This while trying to hang her hat on the pink shorts and ball campaign that sees the Varsity Cup actually campaigning against woman abuse!

The amount of damage this incident has caused is amazing. And one has to wonder if 2014 will ever be remembered as the year the most evenly contested Varsity Cup was won by a side that came back from being 33-15 down with 7 minutes to go in the final because they did not know the meaning of giving up?

Or will it always be remembered as the year of “The fight”?

The tournament, and winners UCT, deserve the former.

But not for one single moment am I condoning the actions of Kriel and the other players involved in the fight. That sort of gutter thuggery has no place in rugby, let alone student rugby, supposedly played by men with enough brain power to think themselves out of situations like this.

But my word, people were very quick to jump on their high horses and type up condescending Tweets, Facebook posts, Blogs and even mainstream articles.

It was 4 in the morning, one set of players had been out celebrating a ridiculous comeback to win the tournament, the other drowning their sorrows given that a simple kick to touch would have secured them the trophy, and there were a few good looking girls involved who had not been sipping on lime and soda all night.

Sure there were some poor decisions made by all, but these things do happen.

And now there is talk of not allowing players out of their hotels on Monday night’s after games!

The disciplinary process obviously needs to run its course, and every single player needs to learn from this, with a view to making better decisions earlier in the night, but hells bells, let’s not throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater!

Some of my favourite memories are those post match chats with my opposition loosehead prop, often deep into the night while looking deep into a bottle of amber liquid. And I remain friends with a lot of them. Even ex Bok Nico Wegner, who sent a couple of well-directed punches my way during a scrum in a big Intervarsity game at Newlands one year, and I remain friends after chuckling about it over a beer after the game.

And yes, every blue moon, those “chats” did include a snack on a five knuckle sandwich... Which then became a life lesson for all involved. How does one learn if the solution is just to remove such situations from the equation?

So many great rugby traditions have been lost in the transition to the professional game. Let’s not lose another one because of one incident. Rather let’s use it as an opportunity to learn.

Tank is a former Western Province tighthead prop who now heads up Tankman Media, and sprouts forth on all things rugby on the Front Row Grunt

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.
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