Front Row Grunt

Rugby … with cauliflower ears

beer post match

Don’t kill the post match beer!

Yes the post Varsity Cup final brawl was unsavoury says Tank Lanning in his Sport24 column, but instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater by banning the post match beer, use it as an opportunity for young players to learn.

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!

“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 it’s 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.

Author: Tank

Ex WP prop with a fair amount of experience in all things media ...

5 Comments

  1. Well put Tank. I am sure that UCT and PUKKE fans will remember the game for a long time to come (for different reasons of course), but as neutral ‘the fight’ tends to stand out. I guess partly because of the coverage in the press and social media, but more so because of the final outcome after all sides had been heard. Real victims of abuse don’t always get the attention and support they need, now this ‘slapper’ goes and makes a mockery of it by crying victim, sharing only her side of the story. Granted he should never have hit her, but at the same time she should never have put herself in the position she did.

  2. Well said Tank, it is unfortunate and i agree that he should not have hit her (that being said she should have not have been involved and if one dug deeper i am sure she was even more involved than just hitting the guy with her shoe)…. it is a pity, hindsight is king, management may well have considered flying the guys home or staying in joburg in neutral territory after the victory that they deservedly won with their courage and never give up attitude. there was always going to be some sort of comeback against the ikey players after this win – sad, but i will most certainly remember the victory for what it was… great effort by UCT

  3. Good article Tank!
    Its sad to see something like this would take the main attention of a great rugby final away and put after hours “crap” as the main line the next morning in the papers. I am totally against the fight and that its never the best solution at all but for this girl to come and say she’s innocent and that Kriel must take the hit for it…. makes me want to start brawling! Never hit a women is rule 1.0.1 but hell, what is she doing in the middle of rugby brawl between some big boys fighting under the influence of course in the early morning by joining with some jimmy choo shoes!

    Again, never hit a women but luckily for the video, there will always be some collateral damage and she was the one at the end of Iron Mike Fist as soon as she was the only one that kept hitting him…. she should rather be mad at her own team for letting her fight alone!

    But its sad to say that this will definitely not be left alone I guess so new rules will be implemented for each team I guess and will change the tradition of the sport.

    I am sure that Wimpy won’t be open till that time in the morning anymore…..

  4. All thats left to say of this story is that I hope her father cuts her allowance and grounds her for making a fool of their family, and I hope its the last time she does, that cos if it isn’t I am afraid she may have another few black eyes coming. Rugby players will continue to belt each other for years to come, its a game of physical confrontation, a game where often your greatest adversaries become your best friends for thereafter, and the chicks fade into oblivion.

  5. Hi Tank – all has been said but that 3rd last paragraph is so true. Once William Cockrell “hit” me with his knee (in the scrum) in a club game. He never was a fighter and it was an accident but we had such a nice chat afterwards.
    Once in a practice at Stellenbosch, the late (dr) Johan Classen almost hit me out of the scrum. He was the one lock in the Victorians side and I was the hooker in the 2nd team. That day the guys hit each other and went in with their boots into the rucks. It was my first practice at the club and it was a “revelation” to me. That however was the exception to the rule. Occasionally when places were up for grabs the guys would swing a few fists but afterwards what happened on the field, stayed on the field and all stayed friends