SARU reacts to De Villiers rant
REACTION: The South African Rugby Union responded to the puerile rant by former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers.
De Villiers, who coached the national team between 2008 and 2011, said he will not be supporting his country during this year’s World Cup.
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.
SARU also continue to support the Bok stalwart saying they will let the legal process take its cause.
“As good and law-abiding corporate citizens, SA Rugby have given our full co-operation in the Eben Etzebeth investigation and will continue to do so,” a statement read.
“The case is in the hands of the NPA and the HRC.
“We trust and believe they will investigate it thoroughly. Once their findings are known, we will adhere to whatever is decided.”
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 has 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.
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“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.”
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