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Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Jean de Villiers moat incident - Argentina 2005

In November 2005 South Africa took on Argentina at the Estadio Velez Sarsfield in Buenos Aires in a match that was remembered more for this bizarre incident that for the quality of play on display. The Springboks won 34-23 in a physical and scrappy match that was watched by a typically passionate home crowd.

Fielding an entirely foreign based side for the first time ever, the Pumas produced three first half tries in the match that was to commemorate the 40th anniversary of tests between the two nations.

South Africa themselves managed three tries, but it was ultimately the boot of Percy Montgomery that sealed the win, with the fullback notching up 21 points in total on the day.

Shortly after the halftime interval, we saw an unpleasant incident that resulted in a yellow card for Bok center Jean De Villiers, and perhaps a new pair of shorts needed for Pumas wing Lucas Borges.

De Villiers forced Borges into touch he tried to wrestle the ball free so he could look to take a quick lineout. Borges hung onto the ball, and as De Villiers tried again to pry it from his grasp, he pushed Borges, who staggered backwards and went backwards over the advertising hoardings.

As it was a football stadium, instead of having grass on the other side of the boards as we’re accustomed to in rugby, there was a deep concrete moat between the boards and the spectators – obviously a means of stopping the football crowds from getting onto the pitch.

Borges went south, headfirst, and if it were not for the quick thinking of De Villiers, who instinctively grabbed hold of his foot, he may well have been seriously injured from the fall.

Players joined, and they managed to get Borges up to safety before a scuffle broke out, with the chief instigator being the fiery Mario Ledesma.

The result was a yellow card for De Villiers, and a penalty to the Pumas, but thankfully Borges survived what would have been a freak accident.

Time: 01:19
Note: This video had been taken down, but it's now back up. If it goes down again, it's because Mediazone/Rugbyzone don't want you to see it for whatever reason. We've done what we can, apologies for any further inconvenience.



  • "Borges survived what would have been a freak accident"
    Thats one good descriptiom for such a crazy situation that would scare the crap out of anyone!

    By Anonymous Eric, at November 14, 2008 12:23 am  

  • Fair play to JDV for grabbing his boot. Definately not a yellow if the moat hadn't been there in my opinion. But the ref must have thought, well dangerous conduct!

    By Anonymous fridge, at November 14, 2008 12:57 am  

  • As I said on another post regarding quick-tap penalites.

    If the IRB really wants to speed up the game, penalize players who intentionally prevent quick play.

    - Not releasing the ball when you carry it into touch
    - or kicking it into the stands after it is already in touch - I saw the Boks do that right in front of the TJ this past wknd
    - kicking the ball away from a player trying to gather for a quick-tap.

    - instead creating ELVs to "speed up" the game, how about enforcing existing law?

    - moron on the Pumas could have really gotten himself hurt. truth is that he set himself up for it by playing cynically. No one deserves a broken neck, but he could have truly reaped what he sowed.

    By Blogger Cheyanquí, at November 14, 2008 1:03 am  

  • hey cheyanqui are you nuts??!!??
    'truly reaped what he sowed'

    everybody naturally holds on to the ball in that situation it's part of the game and i agree should be penalised but he didnt deserve to potentially break his neck! Have a think before you say rubbish like that.

    By Anonymous roddymac, at November 14, 2008 1:57 am  

  • holy shit. Can't help but wonder what Borges thought about JDV after that. On the one hand he did push him over, but on the other he also probably saved his life.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 14, 2008 2:01 am  

  • roddymac,

    I am not saying that the "punishment fits the crime". However, I am saying that players do these things for a reason.

    If one is going to defend Borges's delaying tactics on "instinct", can't we defend de Villiers's actions as his own "instincts" never would have believed a moat to be there. It just would have been Larkham over the signs vs the ABs and nothing else.

    my point is that players intentionally hold onto the ball for four reasons:
    1. they truly believe is it their lineout or PK
    2. they did not hear the whistle
    3. they are trying to delay the other team from enterprising play
    4. they are trying to goad the opposition into a retaliatory penalty

    #1 and #2 are non-issues here. The player is clearly out, and he knows it's not his ball because he carried it out.

    By Blogger Cheyanquí, at November 14, 2008 4:27 am  

  • hey cheyanquí ,

    "he could have truly reaped what he sowed"??

    translation: he could have got what he deserved.

    what the f*$%??

    you're saying he would have deserved to break his neck as a result of him holding on to the ball.

    that's insanity.

    he deserved a penalty, nothing more.

    By Anonymous david, at November 14, 2008 5:06 am  

  • i gotta laugh at the sound of the 2nd SA commentator's voice.... how hilarious is it?

    By Anonymous chris ash, syd Aust, at November 14, 2008 6:14 am  

  • wow i remember this..jean felt so bad bout dis..luckly he grabbed his foot..

    By Anonymous Alain, at November 14, 2008 10:04 am  

  • I think this incident should be blamed on football supporters to be honest... ;-) if it wasn't for their appalling behaviour they wouldn't need fuckin 3m moats and this would never have happened. if they were disciplined enough as the majority of rugby supporters are, this "incident" wouldn't have even been an incident...
    so i say nobody is at fault apart from them...
    but to cheyanqui, mate i think like a few others pointed out, a broken neck for that... maybe a wee bit too much bro..

    By Anonymous Jim, at November 14, 2008 2:30 pm  

  • gents,

    agreed, no one deserves a broken neck.

    The points I was trying to make were:

    1) Borges's foul play set himself up for this unindented consequence.

    2) if the IRB penalized delaying tactics much quicker, this incident would have never happened.

    I apologize if my comments came off an mean-spirited. I only meant to bring forth an issue I think the IRB should sort (delaying tactics on existing law).

    By Blogger Cheyanquí, at November 14, 2008 3:34 pm  

  • jim, et al.,

    As for the football comment, the moat indeed exists because of football.

    That being said, the stadium that enjoyed the game exists BECAUSE of football.

    So unfortunately as rugby folks, we have to take the good with the bad -- at least in Argentina -- because all the large stadia (River, Velez) are built and owned by soccer clubs

    Technically, these clubs are "polideportivo" (multi-sport) clubs that host many different sport codes (from football to fencing), with many levels (amateur, semi-pro, full pro), but the stadia are built for the pro soccer team. They host rugby and rock concerts as a supplemental revenue stream to the pro soccer part of the club.

    By Blogger Cheyanquí, at November 14, 2008 3:35 pm  

  • cheyanqui...

    your defense for JDV's actions is that holding the ball prevents enterprising play and constitues delaying the game.

    there was another puma in shot as he went out and clearly an abunfance from both teams right there to help out when things went wrong, what could JDV have possibly done with the ball. He may have right to it but Borges holding on to it does not at all slow the game.

    there is no right to push for a ball when its that unneccesary

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 14, 2008 3:54 pm  

  • I totally agree with Cheyanqui

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 14, 2008 4:54 pm  

  • i waas that they in stadium

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 14, 2008 5:07 pm  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 14, 2008 6:58 pm  

  • Sorry can't go thru the comments...maybe I'm tired of hearing Boks justifying everything.

    So puma idiot didnt want to give you the ball, you have to push him out of the field practically to get it back huh?

    By Blogger Don, at November 14, 2008 7:11 pm  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Anonymous Benson, at November 14, 2008 7:11 pm  

  • wow....so beautifully wrtten, as if the south africans never do any wrong,this site should only be for bok supporters, so at least other people will not be misled by the endless lies.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 14, 2008 7:39 pm  

  • I usually don't waste time replying to total ballon heads but here it goes.

    1) There are far fewer SA videos on this site than most other teams. I don't know where you're from or who you support but I'm willing to bet there are more videos of your team than of SA. So keep that in mind before you go moaning about how this is an SA site. Clearly it is anything but.

    2) JDV obviously wouldn't have intentionally tried to push an opponent headfirst into a moat. I would have pushed that guy too as it is such a pain in the ass when that happens.

    3) Last time I checked pushing someone isn't illegal. This isn't ballet. With that in mind, Borges is breaking a law of the game and JDV is not. The only reason we are even talking about JDV is because there was this bizarre moat there that JDV wouldn't have had in mind when he's trying to get the ball. "I'm going to assasinate this guy by pushing him into this moat that I scouted out before hand"

    By Anonymous rugby101, at November 14, 2008 7:47 pm  

  • damn you MediaZone !!?

    By Blogger boomshanka, at November 15, 2008 1:04 am  

  • I generally enjoy Argentina matches and pull for them when they play a big-name team, but I just got done watching last week's game of Arg. v France, and I was pretty pissed at the number of times players like Vergallo, Roncero, Contepomi, et al. kicked/held onto/killed the ball to prevent a quick line-out.

    The touch judge finally made a point of it when Roncero well-nigh attacked a French winger to keep him from going for the quick toss.

    I can understand a sly (but not that sly) little move like holding onto the ball for a second or two more if you're tackled into touch just to slow things down a bit.

    It's when some cock acts like a three year old and brings the game to a halt just because he was an idiot an ran too close to the touchline.

    For the most part, I'm not a fan of the Springboks, but I can't help but feel bad for de Villiers here. It's not like he did anything wrong.

    By Anonymous elliot, at November 15, 2008 1:31 am  

  • i saw this earlier and i thought de villiers did nothing wrong and although he pushed the argentinian he obviously didnt think there would be a medieval style defence system between him and the crowd. im almost sure he saved the life of the little argie and that he is a good guy in general

    By Anonymous total80, at November 15, 2008 2:22 am  

  • ...the reason why Mediazone took it down is?

    I mean, from wut i remember watching, it was a supersports clip...wut does that have to do with mediazone?

    By Blogger Don, at November 15, 2008 6:26 am  

  • The copyright nazis have now taken this down!!! How bloody pathetic

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 15, 2008 7:52 am  

  • Mediazone have a personal vendetta against RD. They obviously see it is a threat to their shitty website. How f*ckin pathetic.

    By Anonymous Shaft, at November 15, 2008 2:30 pm  

  • to me it seems like a f***ing stupid idea to play a rugby match with 3 meter moats around the pitch! surely thats a health and safety issue that should have been thought through by the match organisers? in contrast to football, rugby players get tackled off the pitch. not saying its very likely that a player would get tackled into a moat but what has happened many times is fights following tackles into touch, meaning a moat 1 meter away might have consequences!?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 15, 2008 5:25 pm  

  • I was at the stadium that day. That saving grab was amazing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 16, 2008 1:55 am  

  • amazing he was able to hold onto him with one arm given the awkward angle and the momentum Borges already had. Nice strength.

    had he fallen, with any luck he might have just curved around and landed on his backside. still, it's disappointing to see these little 'incidents' which are meant to be part of rugby causing something like this.

    still pretty funny.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at November 16, 2008 3:14 am  

  • Mediazone/Rugbyzone is usless. Morons, all of them.

    By Anonymous rugby101, at November 16, 2008 6:44 pm  

  • Aaah I remember this well. It was insane. Hostile crowd, and atmosphere in general, and then when that happened, and Ledesma charged in, you could feel it in the ground.

    Pity about the push or whatever it was, but thank god he held onto the boot.

    By Anonymous Willas, at November 16, 2008 7:43 pm  

  • ..and JDV could be heard yelling "This is Spata!!!"

    By Anonymous Hangover, at November 17, 2008 1:14 pm  

  • Sparta* ;-)

    By Anonymous Hangover, at November 17, 2008 1:15 pm  

  • what a stupid desing of stadium,a moat? Theree must be better ways of keeping fans off the pitch.

    By Anonymous :), at May 03, 2009 6:34 pm  

  • Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now. Keep it up!
    And according to this article, I totally agree with your opinion, but only this time! :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at February 21, 2010 5:50 am  

  • What will happen if 1 guy come and thought a fight happen and push JDV . Oh bad .

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 18, 2010 6:24 pm  

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