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Cobus Reinach has opened up on last month's World Cup death threat

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Springboks scrum-half Cobus Reinach has opened up about the death threat he received last month after South Africa knocked host nation France out of the Rugby World Cup in Paris.

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The 33-year-old, who has been playing his club rugby in Montpellier since a 2020 move from Northampton, was a starter for his country in their quarter-final against the French and he was subjected to online abuse following his team’s dramatic 29-28 victory.

Reinach is now two appearances into his 2023/24 return at Montpellier in the Top 14 and ahead of their home game this Saturday against Oyonnax, he has told L’Equipe, the French daily sports newspaper, what happened last month in the wake of South Africa’s elimination of the World Cup hosts.

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“I said after the game that the referees were good under pressure which got me a lot of messages,” he explained. “The first message concerned me directly, telling me not to return to Montpellier, otherwise I would be killed.

“Then it starts to affect my family. People, behind their keyboards, who can attack your family… They are not the ones who make decisions on the field or plays against your team, so clearly it’s over the line.

“I don’t want to dwell on that because the French have been incredible but this online harassment, which concerns a minority, must stay out of this game.

“Those people who told me not to come back to Montpellier, that I was going to die, that I was a cheater, that I had to go to the anti-doping control, which is what I did after that match,” he quipped with a smile.

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Reinach, whose wife wanted to quit France and return to South Africa because of the threat, added that he filed a complaint in the aftermath so that French police could investigate the threat and ensure that the most threatening cyberbullies do not live near Montpellier where he lives with his family.

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Comments

2 Comments
P
Patrick 235 days ago

Nick - I joined the forum a couple of days ago for a bit of rugby chat and banter. Yesterday I was called a Muppet for 2yrs work with the Red Cross in Africa because I take issue with drug cheats. Obviously I cried myself to sleep but I'm stunned that there's no 100+ comment discussion about Cobus and the disgusting abuse he's had to endure. That his wife was so affected that a move home was seriously considered is a disgrace for our sport. I've spent a couple of hours trying to understand why some people think that Owen Farrell deserves the abuse he's received on social media and I stumble upon this article.
I'm England through and through but Cobus Reinach?? Seriously?? FFS he's got to be one of least offensive or controversial players/blokes in the world. World class and genuine humility? A guy who's had to wait for his chance and stepped up when asked.
I am genuinely sickened by that and judging from the type of comments certain people are capable of on this forum (without actually including any rugby content), it won't be long before a rugby player gets assassinated.
Killing a musician was inconceivable before Lennon happened and it's hardly a happy world these days.
Cheers Nick

N
Nick 240 days ago

Every single one of these incidents is reprehensible.
People need to get a grip. More importantly they should face consequences.
Great that Cobus made an official complaint. Didn’t know that his wife wanted to leave off the back of this. What an awful experience.

I was deliberating on whether to make this final point. Here I am.
This article has been out for just under a day now.
It’s not received any comments or much reaction. However, other similar incidents provoked some big and polarised responses.
When this story first came out at the time it simply disappeared.
I find that difficult.
It seems that anything SA simply can't be supported in the rugby world anymore. They are all just people. Playing the same sport to the same rules. Experiencing similar issues and adversity.
We would all do well to show some equal compassion.

Especially when a person's life is threatened, their livelihood challenged and their loved ones distressed.

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Jon 12 minutes ago
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Wonton 7 hours ago
Why Scott Robertson may need to ease big names aside for All Blacks' flexibility

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28 Go to comments
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