Etzebeth should return home 'now'
BREAKING: Springbok stalwart Eben Etzebeth could be forced to return home from the World Cup in Japan.
The South African Human Rights Commission confirmed on Wednesday that they will institute legal proceedings against Etzebeth.
The process will get underway in the Vredenburg magistrates court on Friday.
It stems from a number of incidents in the West Coast town of Langebaan on the eve of the Springboks’ departure for the World Cup.
The lock forward stands accused of racially abusing a person, while he also faces assault charges from a separate incident that occured the same night.
The 78-times capped lock was interviewed by Human Rights Commission officials before flying out with the South African squad.
He has denied both allegations.
Buang Jones, Head of Legal Services at the HRC, told @rugby365com that they feel taking the ‘legal route’ is the best way to go.
“We are calling on SA Rugby to do the right thing and recall him [Etzebeth] from the World Cup,” Jones told this website.
Jones said in the case against Etzebeth they would ask for “monetary compensation”, a public apology and seek the “criminal prosecution” of Etzebeth.
He expects Friday’s hearing to set a timeline for the way forward.
The Commission will also hold a public meeting in Langebaan on Thursday, October 3, to report back on progress made in dealing with this complaint.
In a statement issued on Thursday, SA Rugby promised to continue co-operate with authorities and said it would take a hard-line approach if Etzebeth was found to be guilty.
However, coach Rassie Erasmus has stood by the player and said he believes the lock’s version of events.
Etzebeth played in both the 13-23 loss to New Zealand in the team’s opening World Cup match and their 57-3 win over Namibia last Saturday.
The 27-year-old Etzebeth has played 81 Tests and is one of the most experienced players in the Springboks squad.
He’s played a part in both South Africa’s games at the World Cup so far, starting in the loss to defending champions New Zealand and coming off the bench in a big win against Namibia on Saturday.
He is also named to start in their third match, against Italy on Friday.