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Back You are here: Home Sports Rugby Kwa Zulu Natal Parents Fight It Out at Hilton College!
Monday, 17 May 2010 21:52

Parents Fight It Out at Hilton College!

Can there be anything more despicable at a school boy rugby match than seeing parents getting involved in a punch up with schoolboys and other parents. It is definately the type of behaviour you would expect at one of the elite schools in the country, but apparently this is what took place at Hilton College.

Reportedly during a schoolboy rugby match at Hilton College, a Hilton parent went onto the field and punched a Maritzburg College boy. The College parent went onto the field and remonstrated with the Hilton man who had hit his son. The Hilton parent then hit the College's parent, and grappling on the ground ensued - or so the story goes.

The teams playing at time were the 8th teams of each school. Eighth! This was the story told on News24, taken from a report by Stephanie Saville of The Witness.

The schools involved are top KwaZulu Natal schools with long sporting traditions. The report quotes the College parent, Wayne Wilson, a top canoeist, as saying that he was watching his son play in the eighth team match when a rumble between the boys playing on the Weightman-Smith field occurred.

He said: "There had been a few incidents during the match, but it was normal schoolboy rugby banter; nothing the ref could not have sorted out. But the Hilton College parent ran on to the field, and started pushing the Maritzburg College boys away. He also punched my son."

Wilson described the man, Robert Dent, as a "big, tall guy, aged in his 40s".

Wilson said when he saw Dent punch his son, he was not going to stand by. He went up to him and said he should leave the disciplining of boys to the referee. "I tried to be diplomatic and told him he was supposed to lead by example. I told him his behaviour was unacceptable. That was when he took off and hit me. It was a total embarrassment."

He said he did not hit back, but in trying to defend himself the two ended up grappling on the ground.

Wilson said he suggested they leave the field to sort the matter out away from the crowd that had gathered. "I pulled him away and said 'let's go for a walk'. As I grabbed him to try and make him move away from the field where we were the focus of so much attention, he punched me twice."

The man allegedly also hit another College parent who tried to help Wilson. "In the second punch-up I knew he meant business." Someone then called security.

Wilson said he was later approached by numerous Hilton College fathers who apologised for Dent's behaviour. "They said that as parents they would take the matter further. I was also asked to fill out a report on the incident. The Hilton College first team coach and the coach of the eighths who was there and saw what happened, also apologised to me. Even the Hilton College boys were apologising to me."

After the game, all the boys shook hands and left the field in a sporting way.

Wilson said when he was later walking to his car, he found it surrounded by the man's brothers. Wilson said he was talking on his phone at the time and just walked through the men to his car. "They were swearing at me and trying to intimidate me. They must ban him for life and teach him a lesson. I would never have expected this to happen at an affluent school like Hilton College."

Wilson's neck and jaw were badly bruised after the incident and he spoke with a gravelly voice from where he had been grabbed around the neck in a strangling grip. He said his voice box had been crushed.

Wilson said he left Hilton College feeling embarrassed and disappointed. He was also mortified for his son who would have to face his schoolmates. But he said he would probably not be opening a case against Dent.

Approached for comment, Dent, a road construction and quarrying contractor, said he reacted after the third or fourth incident of fighting between the boys. "I couldn't tolerate it. So I went on to the field and started splitting the kids up. That's when the College parent approached me and said I should not get involved. He said it was a normality. I don't accept that. We had an argument, which turned into a physical fight."

Asked if he punched kids on the field, Dent said to separate fighting kids, one can't be "gentle-handed". He said he blamed the referee who should have stopped the fighting by red-carding players earlier in the match.

Dent added that he would be writing to the school to raise these problems with them. He denied that his brothers were summoned to assist him in the matter with Wilson. The Maritzburg College side later won the match 26-5.

Subsequently, Hilton have included on their website the following statement in the headmaster's weekly letter to parents:

"Dear Hilton Family

"Regrettably an incident that was both unedifying and reprehensible occurred during the Hilton College Seventh and Maritzburg College Eighth rugby teams' match on Saturday that resulted in the game being prematurely halted. Although an investigation is in progress to unveil the details of the fracas it is an opportune moment to reflect on the expectations that we have regarding parental behaviour at sporting fixtures. Incidents of this nature are exceptionally rare at Hilton College and it is therefore, particularly unfortunate when a parent behaves in a manner that is in conflict with the contractual obligation not to bring the school into disrepute. Furthermore, this is particularly disturbing from an educational perspective and undermines the values that we strive to inculcate in our boys. The ethos of Hilton College is founded on principles which include self-discipline and respect for others. 

"We have been in contact with the parent involved and he is extremely remorseful and apologetic for his actions on Saturday in bringing the school name into disrepute. This will be followed further by a meeting early this week."

Blaming the referee is not original!

Reported on FNB Classic Clashes

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