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Violence Erupts During High-Stakes Schools Rugby Match



An intense semi-final match in one of the rugby Blue Bulls’ City Cup leagues descended into chaos over the weekend, prompting high-level investigations. The incident occurred just before the final whistle and resulted in fistfights involving schoolchildren and parents from participating schools as reported by The  Citizen.

The disruptive scene unfolded at Hoërskool Erasmus in Bronkhorstspruit during the Stadsbeker (City Cup) semi-final rugby match between their first team and Zayo Sports Academy from Arcadia, Pretoria.

Zayo vs Erasmus: Tensions Escalate
With only five minutes remaining, Zayo Academy held a narrow lead of 32-31 after successfully scoring a penalty goal.

Shortly after, Zayo launched another attack, and their winger received the ball, sprinting down the touchline. The winger made an inside pass just before reaching the goal line, resulting in a try that the referee awarded.

However, supporters of Erasmus firmly believed that the Zayo winger had stepped over the touchline. An argument erupted between them and the sideline official, who happened to be from Zayo Academy.


Enraged Erasmus supporters breached the barricade surrounding the field, seeking to confront the referee.

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Order Restored, but Briefly
The situation was eventually controlled, allowing the game to reach its conclusion. Players from both teams shook hands, seemingly restoring a sense of sportsmanship. However, an Erasmus forward allegedly punched one of his opponents, triggering a fresh bout of chaos.

Multiple altercations involving players and parents from both teams erupted, turning the rugby match into an unexpected boxing ring.

Erasmus Allegations and Investigations
Francois van Tonder, the managing director of Zayo Academy, claimed that the staff and management of Erasmus failed to intervene and prevent the fights.


Erasmus Principal Ettiene Rossouw stated that he couldn’t provide any comments at this stage as an internal investigation was underway, alongside an investigation conducted by the Blue Bulls Rugby Union’s High Schools Association.

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Van Tonder confirmed that the sideline official involved in the incident was affiliated with Zayo Academy. He also highlighted that the Blue Bulls Rugby Union (BBRU) hadn’t provided officials for the match, and instead, it had been agreed that each school would appoint a sideline official.

Referee Shortage Explanation
When questioned about the unavailability of official union referees as sideline officials for the crucial match, despite union referees being present for preliminary games on the same field (under-14, under-16, and second team semi-finals), Dr Eugene Hare, CEO of the Blue Bulls Rugby Union, cited a shortage of referees as the cause.

“We have a serious shortage of referees, and the officials who handled those preliminary games had to leave immediately to officiate club games later in the afternoon,” explained Hare.


Hare confirmed that the union had received letters and reports from both schools and the referee involved, and a comprehensive investigation into the incident would occur.

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Photo: Facebook / @Rekord

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