Robbie Kempson was arrested and released on bail following an off-the-ball incident between the Springbok Legends and the USA at the World Rugby Classic in Bermuda.
USA team manager Tim Kluempers told rugby-talk.com that Kempson, who currently heads up the EP Kings Academy, ran into Leif Gibson from behind when his back was turned.
According to Bermuda sports website, islandstats.com, Gibson was attended to by medical staff, brought to his feet and taken to the sideline where he was later placed on a backboard. He was then put into a neck brace and taken to hospital.
Following an official complaint by the USA team Kempson was arrested for assault.
Kluempers said the decision to involve the police had been Gibson’s as the player 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.’
Gibson, fortunately, is walking again.
Kempson, speaking to royalgazette.com, said he’d been released on bail while a senior prosecutor reviews the case file. He will not participate in the rest of the tournament.
‘The incident that happened was in the general course of a rugby game. I don’t think it should have gone as far as it has,’ said Kempson. ‘I feel absolutely terrible [about the injury to Gibson]. It’s an absolute tragedy. Unfortunately it’s a contact sport and injuries do happen. I have had a back fusion myself and three neck operations so I understand what the player is feeling. It’s a terrible incident that happened and I feel absolutely shattered about it. Hopefully he’s doing better and will be fine when he gets back to the United States.’