Eben Etzebeth may be forced to leave the Rugby World Cup after the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said it was taking him to court following an alleged incident of racial abuse in August.
The Springboks lock has been accused of making racist comments, assaulting and pointing a gun at a homeless man outside a pub in Langebann in the Western Cape province of South Africa.
He has denied all allegations, and was interviewed by Human Rights Commission officials before departing for Japan.
Video of the alleged incident circulated on social media following the allegations, which happened the day before South Africa named their 31-man squad for the World Cup.
'I do think the refs have become spooked because of the publicity and pressure they are under'https://t.co/UUSI9xMagG
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 1, 2019
Yet Etzebeth’s participation in the remainder of South Africa’s World Cup campaign is now in doubt, with the SAHRC confirming that they will institute legal proceeding against the player in the Equality Court on Friday, according to South African news outlet News24, the same day that South Africa take on Italy in Japan.
A spokesman for the SAHRC said a court date will be announced as soon as it is confirmed.
Depending on how far South Africa advance in Japan, and how soon a court date is set, the player may be forced to fly home from the tournament. The details should become clearer on Friday.
Before the World Cup, South Africa Rugby had vowed to cooperate fully with investigations and promised to “take appropriate action once the legal investigation and process have concluded”.
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