EP club's fixtures suspended after 'deplorable' stabbing
REACTION: The Jeffreys Bay club had all its home fixtures suspended, following an incident of violence in which three Port Elizabeth Harlequins players were stabbed and reportedly hospitalised.
Eastern Province Rugby Union President Maasdorp Cannon confirmed the incident to @rugby365com and revealed that steps have already been taken.
Harlequins beat Jeffreys Bay 24-22 in a Super 14 club encounter, with the winning points coming off the final kick of the match.
Chaos then erupted, as angry supporters invaded the pitch, resulting in the stabbings.
“The safety of our athletes and supporting communities are of utmost importance,” Cannon said, adding: “Besides the unfolding processes, all sub-committees are convened to discuss matters of risk and the elimination thereof moving forward, thank you.”
Mark Alexander, President of the South African Rugby Union also slammed the ‘intolerable’ behaviour and said the strongest sanctions should be considered.
“The reports we have seen are alarming and we shall be writing to the Eastern Province Rugby Union requesting further information,” Alexander told @rugby365com.
“It should go without saying that if the reports are accurate this behaviour is intolerable, and the strongest sanctions should be considered.
“Rugby is a physical game where players go hammer-and-tongs at each other for 80 minutes, but at the final whistle, we shake hands and have a drink with each other.
“That is the proud ethos of rugby – this type of behaviour is a disgrace and totally unacceptable,” the SARU boss concluded.
In a letter to Jeffreys Bay, Cannon informed the club of the suspension of their home fixtures.
“It has come to our attention that a very serious incident occurred after the match involving your club on Saturday, March 11,” the letter reads.
“We have come to understand that at the conclusion of the match, scenes of violence erupted causing serious injuries to individuals who had to receive medical attention and even hospitalised.
“In view of this alleged thuggery, the management committee of EPRU, resolved to draft this correspondence informing [you] of the suspension of all your home matches with immediate effect.”
The suspension remains in place until the conclusion and finalization of an investigation and enquiry into the causes and whether any blame can be apportioned to any of the parties.
The letter also reveals that criminal charges have been laid with the South African Police Services.
“This will be an independent investigation and we will encourage the law to run its course,” Cannon said in the letter to the club.
“This incident is deplorable and is indeed a sad day for the Eastern Province Rugby family.
“This type of behaviour is condemned in the most serious terms.”