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SA Rugby issue Etzebeth statement

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SA Rugby issue statement on Etzebeth investigation on same day Peter de Villiers weighs in on the row

South Africa Rugby has issued a statement insisting they will continue to give their full co-operation to the Eben Etzebeth investigation. 

The Springboks second row took to social media on August 25 to refute allegations that he had racially abused and attacked a man in the Langebaan area of Cape Town. 

“It is completely untrue and unfounded to claim that I physically or racially abused anyone in Langebaan as has been reported on social media. Multiple witnesses can corroborate that,” he said. “I am and will always strive to be a true ambassador to this beautiful rainbow nation and the sport that I love.”

On the eve of the team’s departure for the World Cup in Japan on August 30, Etzebeth appeared before the Human Rights Commission to answer questions related to the alleged incident. The matter, though, is still be adjudicated on.

“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,” read a statement issued on Thursday, nine days before the Springboks open their World Cup campaign versus New Zealand, the defending champions, in Yokohama. 

(Continue reading below…)

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“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.

“We stand by our earlier comments that we will not tolerate acts of violence or racial abuse. SA Rugby will take appropriate action once the legal investigation and process have concluded.”

Former Springboks coach Peter de Villiers believes Etzebeth should not have travelled with the Boks to Japan until the investigation was completed, adding that he will not be supporting Rassie Erasmus’ team at the finals. 

In a Planet Rugby interview, he said: “I was surprised that SA Rugby have 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.

“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.”

WATCH: How Japanese rugby fans have welcomed the Springboks to World Cup 2019 

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SA Rugby issue statement on Etzebeth investigation on same day Peter de Villiers weighs in on the row