Varsity Cup brawl: Kriel's version
rugby365 brings you the full and unedited statement of UCT player Kyle Kriel, the man at the centre of the post-match Varsity Cup Final brawl.
University of Cape Town player Kyle Kriel, the man at the centre of the post-match Varsity Cup Final brawl, has stood firm in the face of accusations that he deliberately punched a female.
The University of Cape Town's Varsity Cup win this week has been tainted by allegations of the post-match assault of a female by the Ikey Tigers replacement forward.
Ikeys scored three tries in the last five minutes to come from 15-33- down and claim a 39-33 victory over NWU-Pukke - which stunned the capacity crowd at the Fanie du Toit Sports Grounds in Potchefstroom.
A mass brawl in the early hours of the morning erupted at a latenight restaurant in the town, with Irini Agathagelou later writing to the television programme Carte Blanche and claiming that Kriel had assaulted her.
While Kriel admitted to his role in the fracas which erupted at about 04.00 in the morning, he accused Agathagelou of having been "extremely economical" with the truth.
He claimed that at the time he punched Agathagelou, he was blinded by pepper spray.
"I did not know that it was a woman who had attacked and punched me," he said in a issued statement through his lawyers.
"If I had been aware of this, I would not have punched her."
He also pointed to video evidence to back up his claims.
Here is Kyle Kriel's version of events: It has been brought to my attention that one Irini Agathagelou (Agathagelou) posted the following statement on her Facebook page addressed to Carte Blanche:
'Hello ,, I would like to submit a story… I'm a female student (age 21) on the PUL (NWU) that suffered from woman abuse from the winning team of the varsity cup UCT player Kyle Kriel !!they wear the pink pants and play with the pink ball to fight against woman abuse ! The night they won Kyle and his friends assaulted a PUK player in the local wimpy, I tried to stop the fight and Kyle threatened to hit me,, I continued to help my fellow PUK member and then Kyle gave me a right hook in my face, he tried to hit me again but someone stopped him,, we have video proof and witnesses, the video clearly shows his attack on me and of UNW player Edmar Marais !! I suffered from a concussion and got 5 stitches I'm my face as well as back and neck injuries !!please contact me on Facebook to get my information !! Thank you'
In posting this statement, Agathagelou was extremely economical with the truth, to put it lightly. Fortunately video footage of the incident is available that shows what had taken place.
I have decided to depose this affidavit to set the record straight as to what had taken place and invite readers to watch the unedited version of the video footage to decide for themselves whether Agathagelou's allegations are correct.
She alleged the following:
* That she tried to stop the fight;
* That I threatened to “hit” her;
* That she was trying to help a “fellow PUK member” when I gave her a right hook in her face;
* That I attacked her
The true facts are the following:
After the game, I accompanied other members of the first team squad to celebrate the victory at the Bourbon Street Night Club in Potchefstroom. When the club closed at around 4:00 am, I went with some of the players and management as well as other students, to the Wimpy Bar next to the club to have something to eat.
I sat at a table with a girl, whose name is known to me but which I withhold as I do not want to embarrass her, and a male whose name I do not know.
The girl at my table pointed out Edmar Marais (“Marais”) who played right wing (No.14) for the PUK in the final and said “daar is daai p..s”. I believe she said this to me because Marais was her friend's ex-boyfriend. She and her friend had been running Marais down earlier in the evening.
I looked at Marais who was sitting with other students at another table, pointed at him and asked in Afrikaans “waar is die p..s, daar?”. Marais obviously overheard us as he asked “wie se p..s”. a verbal interchange then followed which culminated in me telling Marais in my broken Afrikaans not to be aggressive just because they had lost the match.
With that, Marais stood up and walked towards me. I also stood up. Marais grabbed a salt cellar and threatened to hit me with it. At that point an unknown male stepped in and picked up a pepper pot. Marais and this person started to scuffle with each other.
One of the male students at Marais' table then intervened to separate the two. He shouted at me to leave otherwise I would be “dropped” (slang for knocked out). I remained standing and did not join the scuffle, although I did respond to the verbal abuse that was being directed at me.
At this stage Agathagelou stood up from the table where she was sitting and approached me. She grabbed the front of my shirt and shouted for me to leave. I ignored her and kept observing the scuffle between Marais and the unknown male. I presumed this frustrated Agathagelou, as she then grabbed the front of my shirt, ripping it partly open and slapped me with an open hand across my face. I did not retaliate but raised my hands to indicate that I was not going to retaliate. She thereupon pushed me out of the restaurant.
Whilst outside, I noticed that the scuffle had grown in numbers as some UCT players had joined and were trying to separate those involved. Mike van Rheede (Van Rheede), the UCT physiotherapist, then joined the scuffle and tried to break it up. Whilst this was happening, Agathagelou approached me again outside the restaurant and told me to leave. I again ignored her. She then grabbed my shirt and ripped it completely open and started to punch and scratch me. I again raised both my hands to indicate that I was not going to retaliate and continued to ignore her, whilst I watched what was happening just inside the restaurant.
It appeared to me that Van Rheede was getting into trouble. I then ran inside to help him. Marais punched Mike van Rheede in front of me. In Van Rheede's defence I punched Marais and pulled him off Van Rheede. This resulted in us moving behind the till area in the restaurant.
At that stage, a police woman standing at the counter started to spray those involved in the scuffle with, what I presume was, pepper spray. I was sprayed in the face. This blinded me and I struggled to breathe. Someone, whom I could not see, continued to attack me and I lashed out blindly at my attacker to try and fend off the attack.
The attack on me then ceased and I cowered in the corner holding my head to protect myself from being hit by my attacker, whom I could not see.
I then heard our first team captain, Liam Slatem speaking to me, saying that it was safe to leave. He guided me out of the restaurant.
Around the corner from the restaurant my team mates poured milk in my eyes in an attempt to flush out the pepper spray. This did not work and I still could not see. The police then took me and a few of my team members back to our hotel.
The video footage
Although I was not aware of it at the time, the video footage of the incident shows Agathagelou running into the restaurant whilst I was involved in the scuffle with Marais and others. She joined the scuffle and started to hit me with an object, which looks like a high-heeled shoe, on my head at least fifteen times.
A female police officer can then be seen spraying pepper spray onto those involved in the scuffle. At that stage a person in a maroon T-shirt removed the object with which Agathagelou was hitting me on the head from her hand.
The police officer again sprayed pepper spray in my direction whilst I was relatively close to her. This must have been the spray that blinded me. Agathagelou who remained part of the scuffle then lashed out with her right hand in what looks like a punch aimed at my face. I then threw a punch at her with my right hand, hitting her in the face. She is then led away by someone and I disappear from view into the corner. A few minutes later I become visible again, holding my left hand over my eyes. Slatem then arrives and leads me out of the restaurant.
It is clear from the video footage that Agathagelou:
* Did not try to stop the fight as she claims – she acted aggressively hitting me over the head at least fifteen times with an object which looks like a shoe.
* I never threatened to hit her as she alleges.
* She was not trying to help a “fellow PUK member” when I “gave (her) a right hook in (her) face”, she ran into the restaurant and joined the scuffle with an object, possibly a high-heeled shoe, in her hand and started to hit me on the head at least fifteen times. When the object was removed from her hand, she started to wrestle with me and then she threw a punch with her right hand aimed at her face. Blinded as I was at the time from the pepper spray, I threw a punch at my attacker with my right hand which struck her on the right eye.
* I did not attack her as she alleges, on the contrary it is clear from the video footage that she attacked me.
I stress that at the time I punched Agathagelou, I was blinded by pepper spray. I did not know that it was a woman who had attacked and punched me. If I was aware of this, I would not have punched her.
I apologise for my involvement in this incident and especially for punching Agathagelou after she had thrown a punch at me at a time when I was blinded by the pepper spray. I do however feel that it is extremely misleading of Agathagelou to now allege that she “suffered from woman abuse” and to link this incident to the Varsity Cup's efforts to campaign against the abuse of women and children. Her allegations are clearly not supported by the video footage.
Irini Agathagelou's version: "I'm a female student [age 21] on the PUK [NWU] that suffered from woman abuse from the winning team of the varsity cup, they wear pink pants and play with the pink ball to fight against woman abuse!
"The night they won and his friends assaulted a PUK player in the local wimpy, I tried to stop the fight and [the player] threatened to hit me, I continued to help my fellow PUK member and then [the player] gave me a right hook to the face, he tried to hit me again but someone stopped him, we have video proof and witnesses, the video clearly shows his attack on me and on UNW player Edmar Marais!
"I suffered from a concussion and got five stitches in my face as well as back and neck injuries! Please contact me on Facebook to get my information! Thank you."