Brawl an “act of the past”

Leleam Memorial School student Apenisa Saqanaceva with his father Navitalai Naisavaki at their home in Namuka village in Bau, Tailevu. Picture: ATU RASEA

YOUTH and Sports Minister Laisenia Tuitubou labelled a brawl that landed a student in hospital during a secondary schools rugby match as an “act of the past”. Lelean Memorial School under-19 fullback Apenisa Saqanavere was discharged from hospital on June 2 and spent two weeks recovering at home in Bau after a rugby match at Queen Victoria School (QVS) turned ugly. The incident prompted the Eastern Zone Secondary Schools Rugby Union to ban QVS from hosting any games this season. Mr Tuitubou said what happened at QVS “was an act of the past”. “Normally it used to be done in the past — not now,” he said. “As of now I can only say we should have the proper authority to look at that incident and schools should no longer behave like that.” Saqanavere returned to school yesterday. His mother Wati Wavivi said the thought of him going back to school worried her a lot. Saqanavere claims when the final hooter sounded, he was attacked by an opposition player. “I pushed him away then he punched me and when I hit the ground, spectators from outside ran on to the field,” the 19-year-old claimed. “I just tried to protect my head and my chest and one of the spectators ran in and stomped on my head. “That’s when I became unconscious. When I woke up, I was in the hospital.” Saqanavere said he underwent an X-ray and the full extent of the injury would be determined upon a review. “When I’m out in the sun, I get migraines and if I move around a lot, it hurts,” he said. “The doctor has advised me not to play for the time being. After my medical review, I will know whether I will be able to play again or not.” He added he supported the decision for a change of venue for future games this season for QVS. “I think that is a good decision made by the committee so that students won’t get hurt again,” he added. Emotional father Navitalai Naisavaki said he was thankful to a good friend of Saqanavere who saved him from the brawl. He believes that if it wasn’t for his friend, there could have been a possibility of losing his son. Mr Naisavaki said he did not report the matter to police and would leave the matter with the school to deal with. Mr Naisavaki also pleaded to the authorities to tighten up security during future games and to ensure that the safety of students was a priority. Coca-Cola Amatil Fiji marketing manager Lawrence Tikaram said an organised environment during a rugby match was always ensured. “As sponsors we always want to ensure that the environment is organised which is in the rules and regulations of rugby and it is important that everybody supports that,” Mr Tikaram said. “All sponsorships would embrace good governance and good running of tournaments.” Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro said investigations into this were still open and was handled by police at Korovou.

More Stories