Former Bok coach Peter de Villiers says he won’t support South Africa at the World Cup due to his dissatisfaction over the way the Eben Etzebeth incident was handled.
At the end of August, Etzebeth met with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) with regard to allegations of his involvement in an unsavoury incident in Langebaan on the eve of the Boks’ World Cup announcement.
Etzebeth first strongly refuted the claims, while SA Rugby stated that the lock would remain with the Springboks unless the police require reconsideration, with coach Rassie Erasmus throwing his support behind the lock.
In an exclusive interview with Planet Rugby, De Villiers, who coached the Boks at the 2011 World Cup, suggested SA Rugby mishandled the matter.
‘An internal investigation into the matter would have been the right thing to do as those are serious accusations made against the player,’ said De Villiers.
‘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 and Francois Davids 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.’
Photo: Chris Ricco/Backpagepix