How officials handled fatal ‘freak accident’ that led to schoolboy’s death

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Earlier this month, another tragedy on the school sports scene came to light when it was confirmed that Dale College first XV rugby star Liyabona ‘Sturge’ Teyise had passed away after a collision during a derby match against Port Rex Technical High School.

The sad news was confirmed just days after the search for fellow Dale College pupil and promising young sportsman Lisakhanya Lwana ended in tragedy, with his family having identified his body at Bhisho Hospital.

Teyise, who was another talented sportsman, was said to have lost consciousness briefly, before walking off the field himself, but he then tragically collapsed and had to be rushed to hospital. There was later confirmed to be bleeding on the brain, and the youngster tragically passed away overnight.

An investigation by Sport24 investigation has revealed that the match was officiated by Wesley Moss, who is part of the East London Barbarian Referees’ Society.

The chairperson of the society, Josh Kent, has now spoken about how their appointed official in the game between Dale and Port Rex handled the incident.

“We looked at the tackle about 50 times and looked back at previous games to see if he’d got a knock and there wasn’t anything threatening about the tackle.

“Even if it was Nigel Owens refereeing the game, the result would have been the same.

“When he went down, Wesley blew the whistle immediately, with the first paramedic getting to Liyabona in seven seconds.

“The second arrival was in 15 seconds, with the trauma board arriving in 45 seconds. He [Teyise] wanted to continue, but the referee used the ‘recognise and remove’ mantra and he was off.

“He was put on a drip and oxygen after he convulsed.”

The comments correlate with those of Dale College headmaster Garth Shaw.

“The collision was very innocent in how it was. As rugby collisions go, it wasn’t a big impact collision. I think it was a freak accident,” Dale College headmaster Garth Shaw recently told Daily Maverick.

“It was a backline move running. The Port Rex defence on the retreat and Liyabona burst through between two tacklers and managed to pass the ball while in the tackle… a cross cover defender was coming across and there must have been a knee or a boot by accident to the side of his head. That’s how this kind of an accident and the bleeding on the brain must have happened.”

Mark Alexander, President of SA Rugby, has expressed his condolences to the family, friends and team-mates of Teyise.

“We received the devastating news of Liyabona’s passing on Sunday and on behalf of the entire South African rugby community, I would like to pay my respects to a bright young kid who lost his life too soon,” said Mr Alexander.

“Any death related to the game we all love so much, is one too many and our thoughts and prayers are with Liyabona’s family, friends and team-mates during this very difficult time, especially as the school lost another learner during the week, not due to rugby.

“By all accounts, Liyabona was a wonderful young man with a bright future ahead of him. Our most sincere condolences to everyone who knew him, from his family and the school, during this time of grief. To lose someone so young, is nothing but tragic.”

Dale College posted the following statements:

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