Rugby hooliganism in Varsity Cup


The following story was sent to me following the supposed ‘Greatest Rivalry in University Rugby’ between Maties and Ikeys – quite frankly, it’s disgusting.

Written by Josh Cesman

Ikeys vs Maties
(12 March 2012)

It comes around once every 2 years. So in the midst of test week, coupled with a poor performance, I was one of the few who opted to make the trek to our neighbours for the greatest rivalry currently in the Varsity Cup. Coming from a small school with no rival culture I couldn’t wait to experience what all the fuss was about.

The first thing that hit me was intimidation. Not caused by any behaviour but by the sheer numbers of them. Maroon.  Everywhere.  The few remarks like “What are these hobos doing here?” were futile. I was there with my mates not expecting to gain anything from what the scoreboard was to deliver come the final whistle, but purely the vibe and rivalry that has made this event legendary. And I have to say as soon as I nestled down amongst my UCT brethren it hit me right from the start. It was amazing.

Surrounded by a vast army of tens of thousands of maroon jerseys was fantastic. A true eye-opener to what happens when a varsity is based on a residence system with the top South African boys schools being feeders to the institution, bringing their culture of pride and passionate support to the stands. The pressure on the Ikeys supporters was met by what I would describe as the most unified I have witnessed our fantastic institution. Despite our small numbers, every chant was met with a powerful response by all Ikeys supporters. It was a moment I was so proud to be singing with the rest of the Ikeys. Just being a part of it sent my endorphins soaring.

On the field, the Ikeys were up against a superb team. There is no denying it. The players were true ambassadors for their university. But the real shame is that the same cannot be said for the ‘supporters’. Do not get me wrong, the last thing I want is a recurrence of the article 2 years ago written by Anton Taylor that I am sure we are all familiar with, after the commotion it created. But what I experienced from about 10 minutes in was truly disgusting. The only comparison I can draw it to, on a larger scale, is the action of the soccer hooligans depicted in Ross Kemp on Gangs: Poland edition. What truly shocked me, was, that instead of this behaviour coming from the low-life, uneducated, scum of society; it was coming from educated individuals attending one of the top universities in the country.

I had been told about beer cans being hailed at us but I never knew it had reached that level. Every time the Maties crossed our line, our stand was plummeted with cans of beer. This may sounds quite amusing to some, but about 7 cans every ten seconds full of fluid hitting you on the head is not a joyful experience, with the bruises, gashes and blood to show for it. I would love to say that there was no retaliation met on our side but unfortunately this was not the case, however, it could not compare to the dozens of cans that landed in our stands.  After a while this just got out of hand, with aggression at boiling point and fights breaking out. Upon confronting (and being ignored by) the first security guard, the second one asked me what he was supposed to do. Personally I do not think that staring into the crowd watching it happen was in their job description. Eventually, being sent to the head of security did not make the situation any more ideal. After asking for some form of intervention to prevent what could have ended a lot worse than what it had already reached, I was told “Are they throwing beer? This is normal”. This is normal sir? You promote the culture of throwing what can, and already has, caused bodily damage. Apparently this happens at every Varsity Cup game in Stellies. And this seems to be accepted by the varsity, with no measures being put into place to prevent it, whereas UCT has forbidden cans to be taken out of the beer tent, instead opting for plastic cups, a point I ignored in previous home games but now realise how a bit of insight and intelligence can prevent animalistic behaviour.

A real eye-opener was, with 15 minutes to go, hoards of female Maties supporters in the area started leaving. It is quite sad when a team that is 32 points ahead, it’s own supporters, instead of celebrating a victory, choose to leave the stands in fear of their safety. The very Maties supporters who created their vibe, created an environment where their own women felt unsafe, and no longer wanted to be exposed to. This was enough for me. Having had a superb time ruined by rampant behaviour, our group decided to leave an unsafe environment where Maties fans were being held back by their friends and prevented from entering our stands to fight, all being witnessed by the security, of whose job I am still unaware of.  This was no place for any girl to be. Maties supporter or not. So we grabbed the girls and left.

Today was an experience that has changed my view on the rivalry between the two institutions, which was one I had thought as healthy and unifying. However this seems to have crossed the threshold of hatred. And how does this make me feel? In one word: fulfilled. I now know that I made the right decision. Maties can keep their vibe, and their stadium. They can keep their winning rugby team and their unity. Today I joined a few hundred students of the best University in Africa. And today I learned how far off anybody else is. I was so happy to return to civilisation, with rational behaviour and sports ethics from supporters. We may have only one Varsity Cup title, but we have what we came here for. A world-class education, civil behaviour and a safe environment that does the exact opposite of raise hooligans with no ounce of respect, disgracing the name of the beautiful game of rugby.

I never thought it possible but today I am prouder than before to call myself a UCT student. I know how hard I worked and what I sacrificed to get in here. I came to UCT to find something. I never expected it to give me everything.

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  1. Soccer: The fans seem to be heading in that direction regarding the respect for opposition teams and fans and look on all the blogs – the referees are also copping it!

    Has the inevitble happened? Have we ended up like soccer thanks to proffesionalism and entertainment laughawie:

  2. I feel for you mate but I was with my Godchild at Newlands after a Varsity cup match were Uct supporters puked on a elderly gentleman and laugh it off, also went to the Spur at Newlands on Monday night last year were they were swearing like troopers and after asking them to consider the children they told staff to f off and started swearing more and louder heard afterwards they got in a fight with some chap!!!!

  3. Mmmmmmm, dis nog steeds lekker om ‘n oud Matie te wees….romromrom
    Maar tog jammer dat die skrywer so ‘n slegte experience gehad het. Al die tye wat ek op Craven was om die Maties en daai jare die Winfield 7’s te gaan support was moerse lekker, en ek kan nie onthou dat ons ooit blikkies gegooi het nie….wel, beslis nie blikkies wat nog bier ingehad het nie!!! :pot:

  4. Reply to bryce_in_oz @ 11:01 am:


    I was still at school 1972/3 in Durban, and often went to Kings Park to support the teams Natal played against.

    Whilst I had observed naartjie throwing at Loftus and Ellispark before, I first saw the utilisation of beer cans as projectiles aimed at anybody on the pitch, at KP.

    Naturally I grew more vociferous in my support for visiting teams!

  5. Reply to KingPaul @ 12:08 pm: Moet jou opinie deel…was daar die hele 2010 vir al die wedstryde en het glad nie die soort gedrag gesien nie…maar soos ek gese het oor die idiot van Loftus…eks e dieselfde hier….drank het geen plek in sport nie verban alle drank van ons stadiums en ons sal die gemors van ons samelewing weghou van die stadiums.

    As ‘n Mayie ondersteuner ek is baie teleurgesteld in die artikel maar weet ook dit is nie die beeld van alle Maties ondersteuners nie.

  6. :dead horse: u cant stop it but we can at least put measures to mimize it like u said banning alcohol or cans

  7. banning alc at the stadium… I just see the dronkgatte staying at home and beating the wife and kids & kicking the dog!!

    At least when they go to the stadium the wife, kids and dogs left at home have peace and quite for a few hours :whistling:

  8. Strange

    In all my times watching games at RAU… where the big game was against Tuks every year.

    Not once did I see behaviour like this…

    Not ever.

    Students getting up to naughty shit yes… but THIS kind of hooliganism? Never.

    I’m not sure the writer is being truthful…

  9. this is sad, I enjoy the beer garden at Loftus and all other stadiums, but believe alcohol should stay of stadiums, cos some poor sobs cant behave themselves. Ag tog scum in rugby, scum in soccer, scum in cricket and scum all over. What is this world coming to?

    Seriously though, the varsity should target the instigators and ban them from all games. Same as the sod who tried to ‘help bjorn’, wtf kan hy nie mik nie? He reckons he accidentally hit mealamu when throwing the bottle to bjorn. Fool. Ban him from Loftus forever. Fools like him give unmannered thugs like me a bad name.

  10. Spoke to a few students today who regulary attend VC games, and they all laughed at the accusations. I am sure if Ikeys had won this would’nt even been an issue? :whistling:

  11. Reply to KingPaul @ 6:26 pm:

    Here are some comments I received:

    * Intense rivalries taken too far. I even saw Ikeys supporters throw flattened cans at our (Maties’) cheerleaders.

    * I was there on monday. I’ve only seeing this happen at a Maties/Ikeys game. And it comes from both sets of fans

    * dit was hierdie jaar baie beter as vorige jare. In 2008 en 2010 was dit belaglik. Toe was daar bja meer UCT mense!

    * da sal moet gekyk word na Matiesrugbyclub se bestuur. daar word al oor al die jare gekla oor die manier hoe hule die show run.

    * di UCT naies moeni vi hul so onskuldg hou ni.hul het reaksie ytgelok en self ook blikke gegoi.mobmentality!security was shocking

    * met di ander wedstryde was dar nie ander span se ondersteuners ni maar dan word dar nogsteds blikke gegoi.

    You want to know the shocking part of the comments above? They are all from Maties supporters – I have not even included Ikey comments…

  12. Reply to Morné @ 6:42 pm: nee f@k, kan die latte nie eers mneer Afrikaans praat nie? Klink verder vir my of die rofste deel die hoek onder die telbord is en dat een Koshuis se latte verantwoordelik is vir al die gemors!
    Maar stem saam met David, dink nie dit was so erg nie. Net studente pret wat duidelik te ver gegaan het.

  13. Reply to Morné @ 8:59 pm:

    Would like to read their comment.
    Belius Potgieter?

    Anyway, I still loved Die Burger’s sport headline:


    (Maties historic slogan is “Rom! Rom! Rom!
    Stellenbosch kom!”)