n South African Law Journal - Wrongfulness and delictual liability for rugby injuries : (SCA) : notes

Volume 131, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0258-2503
  • E-ISSN: 1996-2177



In the course of a rugby match the hooker of one team (H, the plaintiff in the court below) suffered a serious neck injury during a scrum. H alleged that the injury was caused by an illegal and highly dangerous manoeuvre, apparently coded 'jack-knife', whereby his opposing hooker (R, the defendant in the court below) forcibly placed his head in the incorrect channel of the scrum, as a result of which R's head impacted directly and with force onto H's neck, thereby causing the fracture of his neck. H instituted an action for damages against R. R denied the allegations and also raised a ground of justification, namely that H, by participating in the rugby match as hooker, accepted the risk of injury involved in such participation. In the trial court ( 2011 (5) SA 135 (WCC)) Fourie J found for the plaintiff (for a discussion, see J Neethling & J M Potgieter ' and rugby injuries' (2012) 75 675; R Ahmed 'Voluntary assumption of risk as a defence, excluding delictual liability with regard to sports injuries' (2012) 33 414; cf Raheel Ahmed (unpublished LLM dissertation, University of South Africa, 2011) 45-7).

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