SA Rugby probe death of player in illegal tournament

Johannesburg (AFP) –


South African Rugby said Wednesday they are probing the death of eastern Cape amateur player Vizicelo Zondani during an illegal tournament.

Amateurs can train under strict health protocols because of the coronavirus pandemic, but are barred from playing.

Zondani died after sustaining an unspecified serious injury last Saturday during a tournament near King William's Town, 248 kilometres (154 miles) northeast of the regional hub, Port Elizabeth.

"This is a tragic incident that should never have happened, and our hearts go out to the family, friends and team-mates of Vizicelo," said SA Rugby president Mark Alexander.

"Unfortunately, this goes directly against our Covid-19 guidelines... all amateur rugby matches have been suspended for the year due to the pandemic and all our unions, clubs and other bodies know this.

"This tournament should never have taken place and we will launch a full investigation into the incident, as well as the tournament."

Competitive top-flight and under-21 rugby resumed in South Africa this month after being suspended in March due to the pandemic.

Amateurs, university students and schoolchildren are allowed to train, but not to play.