Kempson: Rash statement to generalise SA rugby

Kings coach Robbie Kempson has laughed off some critics’ claims that the Boks’ World Cup win is blighted by an alleged ‘doping culture’ in SA rugby.

Recently, SA Rugby president Mark Alexander said anybody suggesting that the Springboks’ 2019 World Cup win could be ruined by implications of doping could be charged with defamation.

He was responding to accusations from former Ireland lock Neil Francis, who wrote in a column that he was fairly certain of a steroid culture in South African rugby before asking whether an asterisk needs to be placed beside the Springboks as the 2019 Webb Ellis trophy winners.

Former Bok lock Marco Wentzel also suggested in another recent interview that critics had a point due to the number of South African players who have tested positive for banned substances.

However, talking to the RugbyPass website, Kempson said a false picture should not be painted without verified facts.

‘If you have tangible facts it is a different story. Certainly, the players we have [at Kings] we do random testing ourselves on a consistent basis and that is not just for steroid abuse, it’s for recreational drugs or whatever it might be.

‘I think it is a really rash statement just to generalise South African rugby, specifically if you don’t really know the culture of the country and are not involved in the process of what has happened there. I can’t endorse those comments. 

‘It blights what I think was a fantastic [World Cup] victory for our country,’ he continued. ‘It is something I never dwell on. I listen to the comments and just move on to be honest with you.’

Photo: Richard Huggard/Gallo Images