Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers says Chiliboy Ralepelle was ‘one of the heroes of South Africa’ after overcoming challenging circumstances to reach the top of the game.
On Wednesday, Ralepelle was handed an eight-year ban by an independent doping tribunal panel after he tested positive for a banned anabolic substance – Zeranol – during an out-of-competition test last year.
De Villiers, who coached Ralepelle during his 25-Test Springbok career, spoke to Netwerk24‘s Tinus van Staden about the ill-fated end to a highly promising career.
‘As with all black players in South Africa at that stage, Chiliboy was a victim of people’s preconceived ideas. He did not have a good support base in rugby ranks, as many other guys had. At home, definitely, people loved him.
‘His community looked up to him. This put additional pressure on him, considering how much he wanted to be a role model for people. People expected so much of him …
‘He was a victim of circumstances, you have to take your hat off to him for making it this far,’ De Villiers added. ‘He is one of the heroes of South Africa, in the same mould as [former Voortrekker hero] Dirkie Uys, who was so highly regarded at the time because he could shoot a gun. [Chiliboy] just didn’t have a gun right now.’
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