A rugby match between a team from South Africa and a Washington area group, canceled initially for fear of violence, was played Thursday without advance publicity -- and without incident -- on a field in Virginia.

The Durban Collegians defeated the Potomac Rugby Union Selectside team, 33 to 7, before a small audience on a makeshift field on Gravelly Point in Arlington. That's the jut of land north of National Airport where people go to watch the planes take off.

The Potomac Rugby Union abruptly called off the initial planned game in West Potomac Park on Wednesday after several organizations and both D.C. Del. Walter E. Fauntroy, chairman of the congressional Black Caucus, and Rep. Ronald V. Dellums (D-Calif.), chairman of the House District Committee, protested that the all-white visiting team should not be permitted to play here because of South Africa's apartheid policy.

Frederick L. Byrne Jr., president of the local group, said he personally rejects the South African policy, but stressed that his organization of about 35 teams has a policy of playing any visiting rugby team in order to promote the sport.

Byrne said the local team "did better than the point spread indicates . . . The Collegians found a weakness in our backfield and scored a lot of points in a short time." The Durban team has left the Washington area.