VIDEO: Bok team 'stunned' by media speculation of drug abuse
REACTION: South Africa reacted with surprise and indignation over reports that members of the national team were guilty of illicit drug use.
The Springboks stayed alive in the Rugby Championship with a hard-earned 36-20 win over Argentina in Buenos Aires on Saturday.
The result means the tournament will all go down to the wire next week, when the All Blacks host the Wallabies in Auckland and South Africa host Argentina in Durban.
However, the build-up to the Rugby Championship Round Five outing was overshadowed by the Elton Jantjies saga and on matchday by allegations of drug abuse.
The South African Rugby Union moved swiftly to squash the rumours that ‘several’ Springboks had tested positive for the use of illicit drugs
Online media outlets reported on Saturday that Sunday newspaper Rapport was ready to publish an article that alleges several Boks tested positive for cocaine.
According to the website, unnamed sources confirmed that SARU was seeking a legal interdict to stop the story – which they believe has no foundation.
SARU responded with a strongly-worded statement denying the allegations.
The Springbok camp, in the wake of their win in Buenos Aires, also reacted with dismay.
Bok coach Jacques Nienaber described the reports as “quite disturbing” and “disappointing”, especially the timing of the reports – coming just hours before kick-off.
Players received messages from media outlets in South Africa, asking them to react to the reports.
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“I am stunned that allegations like that can be made about this team,” Nienaber told a post-match media briefing in Buenos Aires.
“We are tested, like any other team, regularly – sometime three times a week in South Africa.
“There hasn’t been one positive [dope or drug] test this whole year,” an indignant Bok coach said.
Nienaber suggested that someone with an agenda had “strategically” released the news to disrupt his team.
“It is what it is and there is nothing we can do about it,” the coach said, adding: “We can’t control the narrative that is being driven.
“We can only control what is within our control and that is to play good rugby.”
The captain, Siyamthanda Kolisi, said the reports bonded the team together.
“This game was important for us, [in order for us] to win the Rugby Championship,” he added.
“We had to pitch up for the game and everything else will be looked after.
“The whole week was tough, but the people that support us just want to see us win and we want to make the people at home proud.
“The rest [sideshows] we will deal with when the time comes.
“I don’t know of any player that has been told he is positive.”
* To read the South African Rugby Union statement on the matter, CLICK HERE!