Leopards club coach banned for life
The South African Rugby Union on Wednesday commended the Leopards Rugby Union for taking a zero tolerance approach after a recent incident of referee abuse in a club match.
Hennie van den Heever, a coach of the Vaal Reefs Rugby Club’s second team, was suspended for life from all forms of rugby by the LRU following a disciplinary hearing where he was found guilty of transgressing Regulation 20.4 (b) of the International Rugby Board.
This happened after he assaulted a referee, Godwil Marobe, at a league match between Vaal Reefs and Klerksdorp Askari Rugby Club on 22 March 2014 at Oppenheimer Stadium in Orkney.
Furthermore, Vaal Reefs was fined R5 000 because Van den Heever’s BokSmart accreditation was outdated. Both the coach and the club have the right to appeal these decicions.
“We have been calling for a tough approach to referee abuse and this incident at the Leopards, and the way in which the union dealt with the matter, underlines our message,” said SARU CEO Jurie Roux.
“Two years ago our president, Mr Oregan Hoskins, wrote to all 14 provincial unions and reiterated that players and coaches found guilty of assaulting referees should expect to be banned from the game for life.
“We urged the unions’ disciplinary committees to take the strongest possible action against any individuals under their jurisdiction who physically or verbally abused match officials. This message has now been properly underlined by the Leopards and we commend them on taking such a tough stance.
“Although attacks on match officials, either physically or verbally, are rare, we need to stamp it out completely. Such actions will not be tolerated in South African rugby. People need to be banned and they need to be banned for life.”
Roux also commended the Leopards for imposing a fine on the club for not adhering to the minimum requirements in terms of the BokSmart National Rugby Safety Programme.
“We are serious about BokSmart and a lot of very hard work goes into the programme to make the game safer for all involved at all levels,” said Roux.
“This serves as a reminder to all of us on the importance of BokSmart in South African rugby and that it’s vitally important to keep up to date with the certification.”