Rugby claims another life

A rugby player who was repeatedly kicked and punched in a club match has been declared brain dead.

The match between Rawsonville Rugby Club and Delicious Rugby Club from Ceres erupted into a brawl after the final whistle on Friday night.

And 24-year-old Riaan Loots – a student at Stellenbosch – who had just been chosen to captain the Boland B team, received the brunt of the vicious attack. He was declared brain dead in a Worcester hospital on Sunday, a doctor at the hospital said.

He had been stiff-arm tackled on the throat during the game, and then apparently kicked unconscious during ferocious fighting in the Premier League match.

Rawsonville chairperson DP Spannenberg said he was threatened with a knife and a beer bottle after the match, Die Burger reported.

He said that “it was the worst case of naked hatred” he’d ever seen among spectators.

According Worcester Medi-Clinic doctor Christo van Dyk there was no possibility Loots would recover. “We have declared him brain dead and his organs will be used for donation,” Van Dyk told Sapa.

Boland police spokesman Captain Randall Stoffels said a case of assault with an intent to do grievous bodily harm was being investigated but no arrests had been made yet.

He said the case could be changed to murder if the doctors decided to switch off the life-support machine. IOL reported that it is a matter of when not if they turn off the machines. According to IOL, his family has already decided to donate his organs.

If that is the case then the charge will be upgraded to murder.

Spectators watched in horror as the fight broke out. “The whole team is very shocked and needs counselling,” said Rawsonville rugby club president Piet du Toit.