Bleyendaal steers Crusaders to win in Cape Town
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Passionate support for the Crusaders in Cape Town has hit a raw nerve, with local administrators launching an investigation as rugby in South Africa continues to struggle with fan behaviour.
It’s been an ugly season off the field in the rugby-mad republic.
Problems started with a stand-up brawl between rival fans in Port Elizabeth last month at the Kings-Sharks match.
They hit a huge low two weeks later, when a fan was killed in a fist fight in the car park at the Sharks’ stadium in Durban following their win over the Melbourne Rebels.
Now South African-based Crusaders fans are under fire for their behaviour during the team’s gutsy win over the Stormers at Newlands last weekend.
The Crusaders and All Blacks draw huge support from the South African coloured community, but those fans are accused of stepping over the boundary of decency last weekend.
They call themselves the “Cape Crusaders”, and they allegedly booed the Stormers off the team bus and were hugely vocal during the game.
The Western Province Rugby Union has begun an investigation into the alleged incidents that drew criticism from Stormers players and fans.
“There seems to be a history of incidents when the Stormers and the Crusaders play at Newlands, and we are already in conversation with all role players to ensure that we do not have a repeat of this in the future,” said WP Rugby managing director Rob Wagner.
“We would like to apologise to any members of the crowd who were inconvenienced in any way on Saturday. We will never condone bad behaviour from anyone in the crowd at Newlands.
“A full investigation is taking place to ensure that Newlands remains an enjoyable rugby venue for all members of the rugby-watching public.”
Stormers and Springboks wing Bryan Habana made his feelings clear via twitter, saying: “If I had the money I would happily buy all these “Cape Crusaders” a one way ticket to Christchurch!! #disappointedproudsouthafrican”.
He then added: “highly doubt there’s any place in the world where you get booed off your bus, at your home stadium, by your “fellow” countrymen. And yet there are so many amazing, passionate, faithful supporters at Newlands!! We really appreciate your support!!!”