SharkSmart backs 80-week ban

2013-05-29 10:14
Glen Hagemann, director of the Discovery SharkSmart programme (Photo: Dave Macleod/Gameplan Media)
Durban - Discovery SharkSmart, a programme which works with high schools to ensure a safe rugby playing environment, has come out in support of a hefty 80-week ban handed to a Northern Cape schoolboy for foul play, insisting it reiterates a zero tolerance approach to dirty play on the sports field.
Noord Kaap’s Luaan Dowie was slapped with the ban that will effectively end his high school rugby career after head-butting a visiting Waterkloof player after being sent off the field by the referee for punching the same player in a ruck.
Griquas CEO, Arni van Rooyen, said the ban will send "a very strong message out that foul play like that won't be tolerated".
His tough stance has been endorsed by the SharkSmart programme which works with 21 prominent high schools in KwaZulu-Natal, and operates under the slogan "Play Safe, Play Fair."
"Dirty play is a scourge in modern rugby, " said Glen Hagemann, director of the SharkSmart programme. "Schoolboy rugby is a critical feeder platform for club and provincial rugby and this is where the attitudes and ethics that will steer the game for the next decade are moulded."
"In that light, we back the toughest sanctions against schoolboy players who overstep the mark and resort to foul play.
"In this instance it seems that the head-butting incident happened some time after the initial punching and the intervention of the referee who had already red-carded the responsible player when the second incident took place."
"As a first team player, and a young man with aspirations to continue his rugby career, conduct on the field and following the principles of fair play should be of paramount importance," said Hagemann.
Chairperson of the Durban Rugby Referees Sub-society, Allan O'Connell, who is directly involved with management of the referees who handle the more important high school fixtures within Durban and surrounds, said his society was adamant about rooting out foul play not only amongst schoolboys but at all levels.
"The ban is lengthy but fully justified," said O'Connell. "My concern is where does all this aggression come from?"

"We as administrators of the game need to look at the roles played by parents, teachers, peers, coaches, and spectators. It is inevitable that match officials will also end up at the brunt of this behaviour. It goes against the spirit of the game, code of conduct and the playing charter.

"The effect of this behaviour and the inevitable media attention is that it chases away existing referees and how on earth can we expect new recruits to join our ranks when we are constantly up against this negativity. Very few people understand the consequences and the damage done when these types of incidents take place."

Read more on:    sharks  |  durban  |  rugby

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