Diss match with West Norfolk to go ahead after death of Arturas Rudys in last weekend’s game against Wisbech
Diss’ match at home to West Norfolk will go ahead tomorrow after the death of Wisbech player Arturas Rudys in last weekend’s abandoned game in Cambridgeshire.
The East of England Ambulance Service said the 27-year-old suffered a cardiac arrest after a collision with a Diss player in their match on Saturday.
Discussions took place at their training session on Tuesday night between club officials, players and the RFU Injured Players Foundation, which concluded that the game will go ahead as scheduled.
Club chair Andy Jermy said: “We had a meeting on Tuesday night and the players think it will be the best idea for them.
“They’ve got a rest week after this weekend’s game so it would be a few weeks before they played again, so it would be easier to play tomorrow.
“I’ve spoken to the chairman of Wisbech to let them know what we are doing and they are supportive of it.
“I encourage members and supporters of the club to come tomorrow. Anyone and everyone is welcome and it would be nice to see as many people as possible to come and support the lads.”
In line with every game held across the Eastern Counties RFU’s leagues this weekend, there will be a minute’s silence ahead of Diss’ match with West Norfolk in memory of Rudys.
Other marks of respect have been paid by Diss, including changing the colour of the club crest in their social media profile picture to black and white.
A donation page has been set up by Jolita Kiseliovaite, Rudys’ girlfriend and mother of their two-year-old child, which has already raised more than £22,400 in just six days.
On the GoFundMe page (search ‘Arturas’), Mrs Kiseliovaite wrote: “It’s a very, very hard time for us right now. I can't give up. I have to live and show the right path to our child. I have never asked for money yet, but I want to reach out to you and ask for help. Thank you all.”
Elsewhere, tributes have poured in from other rugby clubs and supporters across the region.
Ipswich RFC have passed on their condolences and announced they will retire the number 14 shirt in this weekend’s game against Wymondham, as well as in the club’s league matches against Wisbech this season.
Thurston Rangers released a statement paying their respects, having lost one of their players – Walsham-le-Willows resident Josh Gilbert – during a game away at Hadleigh in 2017.
Earlier this week, Jermy released a statement on behalf of Diss that said: “Our friends at Wisbech Rugby Club have suffered the most awful loss.
“Players, coaches, supporters and Officials from both clubs who were present at the match have been greatly affected.
“Arturas Rudys died playing the game we all love and the rugby family has come together in their support for Wisbech RFC and we have felt that care at our club also.
“The RFU Injured Players Foundation are providing players from both clubs with professional assistance. We are immensely proud of the actions of two of our players and our physio who went to the aid of Arturas.
“Players, officials and supporters from both clubs formed an incredible bond during the difficult hours together and we will continue to aid each other.
“Our main concern is for Jolita, the partner of Arturas and their child. We will be raising funds for them at our earliest opportunity.”
The hosts head into tomorrow’s match with West Norfolk currently sitting in ninth place after four games, with their opponents positioned nine points above them in sixth. West Norfolk have suffered back-to-back defeats in Counties 1 Eastern Counties, losing 41-24 away to Ipswich last weekend.