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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Keven Mealamu struck with bottle after Bulls vs Blues game

Here's a look at incident everyone is talking about, when Keven Mealamu was struck on the head with a water bottle by a pitch-invader at full time in the Bulls vs Blues Super Rugby game. The man in question was arrested immediately following the altercation.

At just short of fulltime in their game at Loftus Versveld in Pretoria, the Bulls scored a late try through winger Bjorn Basson, setting them up for a losing bonus point conversion attempt from Morne Steyn, who duly slotted the kick.

Basson was dived on by Rene Ranger though, in a covering tackle that was deemed illegal and resulted in a yellow and white card being shown. Ranger has since been suspended for two matches, after his tackle was deemed to have been reckless and late. 

What followed was pretty ugly as Bulls fans were angry at not only the tackle, but the decision from referee Steve Walsh to not award a penalty restart on the halfway line.

A Bulls fan evaded security and took to the field to 'see if Basson was all right'. Mealamu had come across to shake hands with Basson and as the two walked off, he tossed the water bottle in their direction, hitting the Blues skipper on the back of the head.

Mealamu was shocked and angry but restrained himself before the man, named as Johannes Nel, was taken away by security and immediately arrested.

Nel has since claimed that was simply passing the bottle to Basson after he left it behind. He has since apologised to everybody involved, and has been charged with common assault, but the docket was reportedly not enrolled as it was up to Mealamu or the Blues to initiate further proceedings.

Blues team manager Bryce Anderson said that Mealamu wasn't injured, just shocked.

The Blues Bulls Company has issued a full apology to the Blues on behalf of their board, managers, team, and supporters. Mealamu and Anderson accepted the apology and were reportedly impressed with the handling of the matter.

Loftus is known to be a hostile place to play rugby, and this incident - along with the filth that was being spouted from the sidelines afterwards - will further tarnish the image of fans in that region.

Below is the full incident in context, with the try & amatuer footage included [credit: Sluipslaper]. You can view two other crazy pitch invader incidents from the past in the related posts below.

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