SOWETO Rugby Club players received a thorough beating from their opponents in the dying minutes of the game they were winning on Saturday.
About half a dozen of the Soweto club’s players spent yesterday nursing bruises and getting medical help for their injuries after Edenvale Panthers Rugby Club turned the game into a kick-boxing match with players, support staff, fans and parents descending on the field and attacking the “Kaffirs”.
Soweto Rugby Club is at the top of the Gauteng league with an unbeaten record. The Panthers are second, having only lost to the Soweto team.
The Soweto outfit was winning by 29 points to seven with less than 10 minutes left on the clock when all hell broke loose.
The first player to be attacked was Sikelela Nazo.
“I tackled their player to force him to score a try on the side instead of under the poles. When I got up, one of his teammates ran over to me and pushed me.
“He called me a Kaffir.
“As I was concentrated on him, another one came from the side and punched me on the jaw and floored me. I do not remember what happened next,” he said.
Nazo, whose front teeth were knocked loose, could hardly speak when Sowetan interviewed him yesterday outside Edenvale Hospital in the East Rand where he was being treated.
His coach, Themba Masina, got a black eye as he tried to rescue his players.
Now the Soweto club’s secretary-general, Zola Ntlokomu, says the team will sue. “We will sue the club, and the Gauteng Lions Rugby Union. This is not the first time an incident like this happened, and the Lions union is not doing anything to prevent it.
“In 2008, we formed the Lions union because we were unhappy that the Johannesburg Police Rugby Club assaulted our players. The manager and supporters of the Titans Rugby Club attacked and beat up our player. The game had to be abandoned. We were winning by 55 points to 12.”
Lions Rugby Union manager Peter Visser confirmed the incident but said he could not comment as he was still to receive a report from both teams and referees.
He said the Anti-Racism Committee and the Competition Committee were looking at previous incidents and would take up this case.
“This is not good for the image of rugby. No matter what club, big or small, racism will not be tolerated,” said Visser.
Edenvale police confirmed that a case of assault was opened yesterday.