#BLM: SA Rugby still 'stronger together'
REACTION: South Africa Rugby will not rush into any irrational or emotional response in the wake of the fall-out over the Black Lives Matter events in the Premiership at the weekend.
Jurie Roux, SA Rugby’s Chief Executive Officer, gave a measured response when asked about the #BLM developments since the weekend.
SA Minister of Sport Nathi Mthethwa caused a stir when it was revealed that he had approached SA Rugby for ‘clarity’ over the failure of a host of SA players who failed to ‘take a knee’ in support of the #BLM movement before Premiership matches in England.
Mthethwa sought clarification from SA Rugby President Mark Alexander on the matter.
The South African players had worn T-shirts supporting the fight against racism.
However, 11 Sale Sharks players chose to remain standing – with eight being South Africans, namely Coenie Oosthuizen, Akker van der Merwe, Jean-Luc du Preez, Lodewyk de Jager, captain Jono Ross, Dan du Preez, Faf de Klerk and Rob du Preez.
The eight were joined by England centre Manu Tuilagi, Welsh prop WillGriff John and Scotland wing Byron McGuignon (who were both born in Namibia).
South Africans Ruan Ackermann and Francois Venter also remained standing during Gloucester and Worcester Warriors fixtures at the weekend.
Roux was asked for SA Rugby’s position during a virtual media briefing on Tuesday.
He confirmed that Mthethwa had asked SA Rugby for their position.
“The [SA Rugby] President [Mark Alexander] has indicated he will call for a meeting with his executive committee and we will discuss the matter – along with a number of other topical matters,” Roux told the media, adding that until the exco meeting has happened anything he says would just be “speculating”.
“I am going to give him [Alexander] the latitude to have that meeting and have that discussion and give his feedback to the minister, before we come forward with a statement.”
Roux said SA Roux has been clear and categorical on their position in regards to racism.
He also believes the #StrongerTogether slogan used by the Boks during their successful World Cup campaign last year still holds true.
“I see no reason why the team is not stronger together,” Roux told the virtual meeting, adding: “It is funny how everything that happened gets forgotten so quickly, but I believe that [Springbok] team is a strong team and I believe they will show it when they back together again.”