De Villiers: I cannot support the Springboks
IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Former Bok coach Peter de Villiers will not be supporting the Springboks during this year’s World Cup.
In an interview with Planet Rugby, De Villiers said his decision stems from the allegations of racism made against Bok lock Eben Etzebeth.
On the eve of the team’s departure for the World Cup in Japan, Etzebeth appeared before the Human Rights Commission to answer questions related to an unsavoury incident in Langebaan on the weekend before the Springboks’ World Cup squad announcement in August.
The accusations against Etzebeth – based on a grainy and dark video that shows very little – suggested he had assaulted a member of the public.
It was alleged that Etzebeth‚ who was with members of his family and friends‚ also made racial slurs.
Etzebeth took to Facebook to refute the claims and deny any wrongdoing.
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However, De Villiers believes Etzebeth should not have travelled with the Boks to Japan.
“An internal investigation into the matter would have been the right thing to do as those are serious accusations made against the player,” De Villiers told Planet Rugby.
“I was surprised that SA Rugby have opted not to take that option and allowed Etzebeth to go with the team to the World Cup.
“I find it disappointing that black administrators at SA Rugby like Mark Alexander [president] and Francois Davids [deputy president] have not done the right thing by launching an investigation and suspending the player until he has cleared his name.
“I take allegations of racism personally because if you use racist words against the average man in the street then you can easily use it against me as well. By simply accepting Etzebeth’s word and not launching an investigation, SA Rugby missed an opportunity to show that they are serious about stamping out racism. I therefore cannot support the Springboks at this year’s World Cup.”
De Villiers added: “I won’t be backing another team at the World Cup, but I don’t have to support my own country after Etzebeth’s alleged comments.”
Source: Planet Rugby
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