The Wits Engineers rugby team has been disqualified from the internal rugby league for fielding players in breach of regulations.
The team will not play in the semi-finals tomorrow night after it was found that two of the team members who won 10-5 against Men’s Res last week, belong to other clubs.
The disqualification was confirmed today by the team’s captain, Matthew Peter, and league coordinator Alan Leonard.
The league’s regulations dictate that “a player that has played for any other club during a specific calendar year, whether it was in a friendly or in a league match, will not be allowed to participate in the competition during that specific year.”
According to Leonard, the Engineers’ captain requested permission on the morning of the game to allow a Pirates club member to play that evening but he (Leonard) denied the request. Engineers opted to field the player anyways.
“In our opinion, what would have been more fair is to discuss the terms of a rematch,” said Peter.
“As a whole the internal league has very few Wits students to begin with, there aren’t that many Wits students who are keen to come down and play internal rugby, which is a problem. If that’s the case, you’re forced to bring in outside players.”
Peter also said the issue is more about the handling of the disqualification and how Men’s Res only complained at the end of the match when they knew who the two players were from the beginning.
“Literally, as I walked off the field I was pulled into a meeting, I was standing there in my full kit, sweating off the field, having to explain the two players’ status (sic),” said Peter.
According to Leonard, the Engineers have accepted the ruling and the disqualification from the competition.
As a result of the team’s disqualification, Men’s Res has been granted a second chance to move forward in pursuit of being titled the internal league winners in the final next week Wednesday.
“We are very grateful to be given a second chance and in all honesty we think we deserve it,” said Sbonga Mthalane, Men’s Residence captain.
The semi-final will be an all “M” final, with Masakhane, Medics, Monash and Mens Res, thrashing it out in the hopes of becoming one of the two remaining teams to go head-to-head in the finals the following week.
The lineup sees Masakane playing the first game against the second time lucky Men’s Res, and Medics versus the newcomers to the league, Monash.
The semi-finals are this Wednesday, September 3, from 7 pm on Rugby Field A on East Campus.