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Back You are here: Home Sports Cricket Western Cape Judge Rules Against School Boy Rugby Player!
Thursday, 05 May 2011 14:50

Judge Rules Against School Boy Rugby Player!

In a Landmark judgment yesterday, a former school rugby player won his case against an opposing player who injured his so severely during a scrum that it left him with a broken neck, reported the Mercury newspaper.

_lawsuit_judge_gavelThe ruling by the Western Cape High Court could serve as a legal precedent for civil claims against players of any sport who are found to have deliberately injured a player during a game.

The incident occurred in 2005. Ryand Hattingh, 25, was in matric at Labori High School in Paarl when his neck was injured in a school rugby match.

He played hooker and claimed that his neck fracture was as a result of a deliberate action by the opposing team's hooker, Alex Roux.

Roux was believed to have incited his team members to perform an "illegal and dangerous" manoeuvre, coded "jack-knife", which meant his head went into the wrong gap in the scrum which then collapsed on Hattingh's neck.

At the time, Western Province assistant coach Matthew Proudfoot and scrum coach Balie Swart testified that things were "rather chaotic" at schoolboy level.

Judge Burton Fourie ruled that the action of Roux - at Stellenbosch High School at the time - was "unlawful and extremely dangerous". He said it was clear Roux's actions had been "intentional".

Both players told the court they had never experienced the manoeuvre in their rugby careers.

Judge Fourie quoted Swart's testimony in which he said that although he had seen the manoeuvre being executed, it was "illegal and extremely dangerous and is used in an effort to dominate the opposing team by disrupting their scrum".

"The placing of this head in the wrong channel of the scrum was, judege on evidence from the court, a planned move, deliberately executed, well-knowing that injury was a result thereof," said the judge. "Rugby is a high-speed contact sport, so there will always be risk of injury. The participants can expect to sustain injuries, in the normal course of the game."

However, this did not mean players were entitled to deliberately injure another player. "The injured player should not, by virtue of the game, be regarded as having consented to the risk of being injured as a result of serious aggressions, which are not normally associated with rugby," he said.

Fourie ruled that Hattingh was entitled to damages as well as costs. The damages which Roux's father is liable for have yet to be determined.

Source : The Mercury.