SA Rugby has explained why the Springboks did not wear rainbow laces following the homophobic attack against former Wales captain Gareth Thomas.
The 44-year-old Thomas was attacked in Cardiff by a 16-year-old boy, who admitted assault.
As a show of support for Thomas, players from several teams wore rainbow laces during Test matches on 24 November, including England, the All Blacks, France and Wales.
When asked by MambaOnline why the Boks had not worn rainbow laces against Wales in Cardiff, a SA Rugby spokesman said: ‘There are many social issues facing South Africa; unemployment, inequality, intolerance, farm murders, corruption, service delivery issues, poverty and there are many charitable causes as well as natural disasters such as droughts and fires which demand attention. We are frequently asked to support any number of them through the ‘vehicle’ of the Springboks. We cannot support them all; to be asked to choose between them is not the role of a sports federation.’
‘In March, we made our position clear,’ said the spokesperson. ‘Mark Alexander, the president of SA Rugby, affirmed our standpoint in support of the Jozi Cats saying: “Rugby is all-inclusive, and everyone participating in the game should be treated equally and should feel free to be themselves on and off the field, regardless of their gender, race and sexual orientation. There is no place for discrimination in the game. I would like to thank the Jozi Cats for the role they are playing in changing the face of the game and for their determination to show that there is a place for everyone in rugby”.’