Pumas in early morning nightclub brawl

Willie Engelbrecht and Stephan Greeff.

MBOMBELA – Two Steval Pumas players were involved in a bar fight in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Eighth man, Willie Engelbrecht and lock, Stephan ‘Stretch’ Greeff apparently crossed swords with a duo known as “the Stander Brothers”.

The men-in-pink and the brothers have different versions of what happened, but all four distinctly remember their Deja Vu Club Café brawl ending with Engelbrecht on the receiving end of a burst of pepper spray.

According to Deja Vu owner Neil Venter the incident occurred just after 01:00, eight hours after the Pumas lost to the Toyota Free State Cheetahs at Mbombela Stadium.

Venter claimed that he has had trouble with the team’s members in the past. “They waltz in here. Cocky, dressed in their pink Pumas gear with their chests pushed out,” he said. Their arrival, Venter said, often precedes trouble.

“Some sort of drama is bound to follow. It takes on different forms. A fight here, flirting with a woman in front of her partner there, and before you know it chaos abounds,” he told Lowvelder.

According to Greeff the drama started when the the Pumas were assaulted by the Standers in the restrooms.
The brothers, Donovan and Lonzo, denied this.

Deja Vu’s manager told Lowvelder that the brothers complained about being shoved by one of the rugby players. The latter denied this.

“Initially the manager managed to contain the situation,” said Venter.

According to the manager, he escorted the Standers to the outside deck at about 01:20 and, in so doing, separated them from the rugby players who were at the bar.

“While talking to them, I saw Engelbrecht rushing towards us. He struck a blow in Lonzo’s direction,” he said.
Lonzo told Lowvelder that Engelbrecht had “come out of nowhere,” and punched him on the left side of his face.

“Lonzo was ready to fight back,” recalled the manager, who intervened and decided that pepper spray would be a safer form of maintaining order.

The four men left the club after that.

Lonzo Stander sent Lowvelder this photo of his face.

Venter stressed that there is a no-tolerance policy concerning violence and drugs at Deja Vu.

Pieter Burger, CEO of the Mpumalanga Rubgy Union, stressed that Greeff and Engelbrecht had visited the establishment in their private capacity and not as representatives of the Pumas brand.

“It would be unfair to focus on their status as rugby players for sensational purposes,” he said. “Would you have exposed this if they were average Joes, and not Pumas, who were involved?” he asked.

Burger said that “young men will be young men” and elaborated on the Mbombela culture being one of hard partying and occasional fights. He stressed that the union does not endorse this culture.

Concerning the consequences of yesterday morning, he said that the players’ contracts provide for disciplinary steps to be taken against them, should they be found guilty of committing any crime. Burger stated that Greeff has signed a contact with the EP Kings and will be leaving the Pumas in the near future. Burger agreed to provide the enquiring journalist’s cellphone number to Greeff and Engelbrecht. The latter did not establish contact.

According to Lonzo, cases of assault have been opened against Greeff and Engelbrecht. The police had not confirmed this at the time of going to press.

  AUTHOR
Helene Eloff
Court Reporter

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