CAPE TOWN – Resulting from recent reports that South African Rugby star Eben Etzebeth is facing racial assault charges, former Springboks coach Peter de Villiers will not the former World Cup champions in Japan.
This comes after Etzebeth had allegedly referred to coloured members of the Langebaan yacht club as “h*tn*ts” (Hottentots) before being accused of not doing enough to intervene in a scuffle that broke out at a local bar.
De Villiers believes the Springboks lock should’ve been subjected to an internal investigation and dropped for the upcoming 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.
Although the lock had met with the Human Rights Commission (HRC) last month after a complaint was laid against him for his alleged involvement in two racial incidents in Langebaan (Cape Town), de Villiers has refused to rally behind the national team at this year’s global tournament in protest against the Eben Etzebeth saga.
The HRC has confirmed that it wouldn’t be in contact with Etzebeth until the end of the showpiece while SA Rugby has backed their star second-rower unless the police require him again for their investigation.
“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 told Planet Rugby in an interview.
“I was surprised that SA Rugby has 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,” he expressed.
In addition, the former Zimbabwe national team coach is of the view that SA Rugby should’ve been more proactive and launched an internal investigation.
The 62-year-old, who until recently was Zimbabwe’s head coach, expressed his disappointment that prominent coloured administrators hadn’t taken a harder stance.
On the other hand, the experienced manager also stated that he feels personally insulted by the whole saga.
“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,” he continued.
“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,” concluded the coach.
Meanwhile, coach Rassie Erasmus is preparing his team to face reigning world champions New Zealand in their opening match next week.