Kolisi - Boks not disrupted by Etzebeth-SAHRC saga

Kolisi - Boks not disrupted by Etzebeth-SAHRC saga

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi says the team has not been disrupted by the South African Human Rights Commission’s looming charges against lock Eben Etzebeth.

Eben Etzebeth
Steve Haag Sports via Hollywoodbets

On Wednesday the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) stated that legal proceedings would be initiated against Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth this week at the Equality Court - following an incident in Langebaan the night before the Springbok’s World Cup squad was announced in August.

It is alleged that Etzebeth had been involved in an incident outside of a bar that night. The Springbok lock appeared before the SAHRC before the team departed for the Rugby World Cup and was cleared to tour with the side.

READ: Injury ends Bok centre Kriel's Rugby World Cup campaign

The latest twist in the story comes just two days ahead of a must-win clash against Italy.

Kolisi says Boks haven’t been disrupted

During his captain’s press conference on Thursday afternoon at Shizuoka Stadium Ecopa, Kolisi told journalists that the team was not aware of the details of the SAHRC charge against Etzebeth.

“Management are managing that and I think SA Rugby has issued a statement on that. We are here to play and I know that Eben is playing this weekend. We haven’t had any distraction this week,” Kolisi said.

Kolisi also maintains that Etzebeth has not taken any emotional strain from the situation and that the squad has it’s gaze firmly on the looming clash with Italy.

“No not from what I have seen. We’ve just been preparing for the game, that’s all we’ve been talking about, we’ve got a really important game this week. Every game for us now is a playoff game because if we slip up, we're out of the competition so that has been the focus.”

Etzebeth still part of Springbok squad

Springbok backline coach Mzwandile Stick echoed Kolisi’s comments saying that the team is trying to focus on the rugby side of things, while leaving the ongoing situation to be handled by the SA Rugby management team in South Africa.

At this stage it seems as though there is no talk of Etzebeth leaving Japan and returning home.

“I won’t lie to you and say we know much about the case back in South Africa. At the moment we are at the World Cup and as players and coaches we are focusing on making sure that we get the team into the right space,” Stick said.

“Eben has been focused on what we want to achieve as a team. Management will deal with the case with SA Rugby back in South Africa. At the moment Eben is still part of our squad for the World Cup, he’s going to be playing tomorrow and he’s focusing on the game.”

Stick was adamant that neither Etzebeth or his teammates have taken any further stress this week after the SAHRC’s decision to lay charges were announced.

“Like Siya said earlier on, Eben is in a good space as a team player and the players in the squad are in a good space. We are just focused on playing against Italy,” Stick added.

SA Rugby issue statement

Just before the Springboks captains practice on Thursday, SA Rugby issued a statement saying that it intended to abide by South African law.

The issue is being addressed internally and SA Rugby would not divulge any other information regarding the matter:

“SA Rugby reaffirms its commitment as a good corporate citizen to abide by any requirements placed on it or its employees by South African authorities. We have fulfilled all requests to date and will continue to do so as and when advised. Following our discussions with the South African Human Rights Commission we have instituted an internal process to address the matter, the details of which remain an employment matter between SA Rugby and the player.”

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