Cape Town - A fierce court battle is set to unfold after a waterpolo coach from Durban was suspended for punching a player.
According to The Mercury (www.iol.co.za), Jean le Roux, head coach at Durban High School, has launched an urgent application in the Durban High Court, seeking an order overturning a decision by KwaZulu-Natal Aquatics to suspend him pending the outcome of a disciplinary inquiry.
READ: School rugby coach suspended
Le Roux says he is being punished without being found guilty and that the suspension is being orchestrated by the head coach of rivals Glenwood Boys High.
Le Roux got into hot water after punching an opposing side’s player during a first division league match between DHS Old Boys and the Clifton Mackerels in October last year.
However, Le Roux insists he punched the player to defend the players on his own team, who were younger than the players on the Clifton team.
Le Roux’s team mainly comprised of schoolboys and according to him they struggled to match the older players' physicality.
For this reason, they opted for a “long arms” approach by keeping distance from those more skilled and playing a game involving a lot of swimming to tire out their older rivals.
Le Roux said he saw a Clifton player choke a member of his team and, when a team-mate tried to assist, he was assaulted by the older player.
Le Roux said the referee, Steve la Marque (also Glenwood's coach), lost control of proceedings, so he stepped in and twice punched the Clifton player. Amidst fierce fracas, the game had to be abandoned.
Le Roux and the Clifton player were suspended, but pleaded guilty and received a two-game suspension.
Le Roux said he has a longstanding and fierce rivalry with La Marque and believed the latter is involved in his disciplinary process and wants him suspended.
Attorney Dunstan Farrell, who acts for the affiliated KZN Waterpolo, said Le Roux’s application would be vigorously opposed in court.
The above example is not the first of the fierce sports rivalry that exists in KwaZulu-Natal schools sport.
Last year, Hilton College announced they would no longer play Glenwood Boys High from 2015 onwards because the latter became “too professional” in their approach.
Glenwood beat Hilton 67-7 in 2014, with other top provincial schools suffering similar defeats.
Hilton's principal Peter Ducasse said there was no point to a one-sided contest and the risk of injuries was also greater.
There was reported to be aggressive recruiting and poaching of players at the province's schools which was being fuelled by overzealous parents and a culture of rugby worship.
The two schools have played each other since 1924.
*Another example of a school sports coach getting too hot under the collar occurred in 2012, when a rugby coach from Boksburg was banned for two years for shoulder charging a referee.
Schalk Snyman, who coached EG Jansen High School, was expelled after he shoulder charged referee Mlungiseleli Mdashe. The incident was captured on video.
According to the terms of his suspension, Schalk Snyman was not allowed to be directly or indirectly involved with rugby for five years, suspended for three years.
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