Kempson arrested for assault
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Cape Town - Former Springbok Rob Kempson was placed in police custody over an alleged assault that left a USA player with spinal injuries during a World Rugby Classic match.
According to The Royal Gazette Online website
, USA team manager Tim Kluempers said flyhalf Leif Gibson, 34, may never play again as a result of the injury, which allegedly occurred “off the ball” during last Saturday's game.
Kempson, 38, was arrested after the incident, which occurred after 15 minutes into the match at the National Stadium in Devonshire, Bermuda.
According to Kluempers, Kempson ran into Gibson's back from behind, while Gibson's back was turned.
Gibson was helped off the pitch before collapsing and being taken to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital for treatment.
Gibson is due to fly to Houston for further medical attention. The manager was unable to be specific about the nature of the injury, but said Gibson has “severely injured his back” and been fitted with a neck brace to travel home in.
South Africa ended up beating the USA 43-10.
Asked why the police made the unusual move of investigating something that happened on the field of play, Kleumpers replied that it was the player’s decision.
“He said if it happened in the course of play, in a tackle or ruck, that’s understandable. It’s the risk we take. When it was in off the ball play, that was not necessary.”
“It’s frustrating that something like this happens off the ball and away from the play. We have rallied around and are supporting him.”
A police spokesperson said: “Police are investigating a report of assault that took place Saturday night at the World Rugby Classic.
“As a result, a man has been arrested in connection with an off ball assault that took place during the USA v South Africa match. Police are appealing for witnesses, specifically anyone who may have video images of the assault, to come forward.”
South Africa team manager Mark Wood said he did not have any information about the incident, and would have to talk to other members of the squad last night.
Efforts to reach him for comment after that proved unsuccessful.
Kempson played 37 Tests for the Springboks during his career which spanned 1998-2003.