Rugby star stabbed by fan and referees ‘too traumatised’ to continue match

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A rugby match between Never Despair and Porterville in South Africa was abandoned on Saturday after a player was stabbed by a spectator during the half-time interval. Officials then abandoned the League A game, with the wounded player being rushed to a local hospital to receive treatment.

The spectator – a Porterville supporter – is said to have entered the field of play wielding a knife before stabbing a Never Despair player. The casualty’s teammates, as well as the chairman, then took action and raced after the perpetrator, detaining him before handing him over to the police.

Never Despair’s vice-chairman, James Davids, is a trained paramedic and he was able to treat the player before an ambulance arrived to take the victim to a nearby hospital. The wounded player was then discharged on Sunday.

The match – which took place just 40 miles north of Cape Town – was also abandoned by officials, who were shaken by the on-field crime and ‘too traumatised’ to brush off the incident and allow the game to continue at the Alfa Street Stadium.

The Boland Rugby Union president Bennie van Rooi released a statement addressing the incident on Sunday which read: “The Boland Rugby Union mourns the shocking incident yesterday during a League A match between Never Despair and Porterville at the Alfa street stadium in Malmesbury where a player from the home club (Never Despair) was stabbed with a knife on the field during the half-time break.

“The union immediately reached out to the Never Despair rugby community to assist in any way possible. The chairman of Never Despair chased after the culprit, and with the help of players, the person was detained and handed over to SAPS.

“The vice-chairman of the club, Mr James Davids, a paramedic, attended to the wounded player until he was taken to hospital by ambulance. The player was discharged from hospital today (Sunday).

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“After a discussion between management of the two clubs and match officials, the match was called off because the referees were too traumatised to go ahead. Randall Swarts, the chairman of the visiting club, confirmed to Boland Rugby that his club was satisfied that the host club’s safety procedures were in order, with security visible.

“The traumatic events, even though isolated, are viewed in a very serious light by the union. The union immediately discussed the incident with the club in order to obtain a detailed report.” It remains to be seen whether the perpetrator will face charges.

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