SA Rugby institutes internal process against Etzebeth


The Eben Etzebeth "racism" investigation should not distract the Springboks as they participate at the Rugby World Cup.

The Springboks lock has been accused of making racist comments, assaulting and pointing a gun at a homeless man outside a pub in Langebann in the Western Cape province of South Africa.

South Africa rugby player Eben Etzebeth could face legal action over an alleged assault, after the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) said on Wednesday it would ask the country's Equality Court to institute proceedings against him.

Assistant South Africa coach Mzwandile Stick also said the focus was entirely on the match against Italy, the victor of which will likely advance to the quarter-finals.

The SAHRC said that it received a complaint in August 2019 alleging that the Springbok rugby player, "physically and racially" abused the complainant in Langebaan during an altercation. "Multiple witnesses can corroborate that", he said at the time.

A SA Rugby spokesman said it "reaffirms its commitment as a good corporate citizen to abide by any requirements placed on it to or its employees by South African authorities".

The Commission has made allegations of investigatory bias against the South African Police Service member who investigated the case initially, concluding no criminal charges should be brought against Etzebeth.

The incident is said to have taken place the day before the Springboks Rugby World Cup squad was announced.

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"I know they have also prepared specially for this game - it's one of those games you want to be playing in as a player", said Kolisi.

State prosecutors have yet to decide whether there is a case to answer.

SA Rugby says the details of the internal process remain an employer-employee matter. "Once their findings are known, we will adhere to whatever is decided".

"I have to trust him to do some stuff on the field and win Test matches and he must trust me to believe him when he tells me something".

The 27-year-old Etzebeth, who is 6-foot-8 (2.03 meters) tall, has played 81 tests and is one of the most experienced players in the Springboks squad.

He's played a part in both South Africa's games at the World Cup so far, starting in the loss to defending champion New Zealand and coming off the bench in a big win against Namibia on Saturday.

Italy coach O'Shea insisted that his team, the sole Six Nations side never to have reached a World Cup quarter-final, were not the ones in the spotlight despite having taken a maximum 10 points from their two opening games.