Police fire shots to stop violent East London rugby brawl
A rugby brawl between Old Selbornians and Black Eagles of Tyolomnqa became so violent that police watching from the sidelines fired at least one warning shot to separate players at the weekend.
Details of the Saturday afternoon fracas on the Mpongo field were sketchy but both Old Selbornian Rugby Club president Barry Neville, and former Border Rugby co-ordinator Simphiwe Ntlantala, who is assisting with Border club rugby, confirmed that there was trouble on the field.
Neville, who was not present at the match, said he did not want to comment until he had received a full report.
He said the incident was “not at all within the ethos of club rugby”.
Ntlantala said he was unaware of the particulars, but confirmed there was a fight.
According to a witness, the secretary of the Black Eagles Rugby Club, Macendile Mtsatse, the fight started in the last minute of the game after an Old Selbornian player threw the ball at a Black Eagles player’s face.
He said only players were involved in the fracas, and could not be separated despite attempts by officials.
Mtsatse said: “The police who were watching fired shots in the air and that was very effective and broke up the fight immediately.”
This was slightly at odds with three other rugby sources who did not want to be named.
One source said the game was fuelled by aggression from the beginning as three Old Selbornian players, including their captain, had their eyes gouged within 15 minutes of kick-off.
One source said the Old Selbornian team considered walking off the field, but decided to continue playing in order to not forfeit any points.
Others mention that spectators ran on to the field and became involved in the fight.
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