There was a dramatic twist in the ongoing saga involving veteran Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth and a brawl in Langebaan.
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 the incident at the West Coast town at the weekend.
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.
On Sunday there were swift calls from a political group, the Khoisan Defiance Campaign, for the Springbok to be axed and arrested for assault. Another statement was released by the group on Tuesday.
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Speaking at the team’s departure media briefing, Erasmus confirmed the lock appeared in front of the HRC on Thursday. He reiterated again that he still believes the player’s version of the events.
“There is always a coach-player relationship and there is always trust in that,” said Erasmus. “There are a lot of this said on social media, not just about Eben, but a lot of things we have to handle daily. We just ignore because it is just nonsense.
“This has become a real big thing. I have to believe what the player tells me. Until something else is proven differently, only then can we act.
SA Rugby have broken their silence.https://t.co/1hVyWZH5KM
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) August 26, 2019
“The update I can give you, which I only heard this morning, is that there was a complaint at the HRC. Eben and Eugene (Henning) our player affairs manager is there – in discussion with the Human Right Commission this afternoon. “There is no police or anything else that we have heard of. We have only heard of the complaint at the HRC.”
A South African Rugby statement, issued shortly after 3am on Friday morning, also confirmed that Etzebeth met with the Human Rights Commission in Johannesburg on Thursday. “The purpose of the meeting was to advise the player of the role the HRC takes in relation to a complaint received, as well as the subsequent media reports relating to it, and to establish a commitment of cooperation between the two parties,” the statement said.
— Springboks (@Springboks) August 30, 2019
“Both parties expressed their satisfaction with the envisaged process going forward and concluded by describing the meeting as constructive. The player denied any wrongdoing to the HRC and has pledged his full cooperation in the matter.”
WATCH: The RugbyPass stadium guide to Shizuoka, one of the grounds that will host the Springboks during the pool stage of the World Cup in Japan
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