Former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers has refused to back the national team at this year’s World Cup in Japan in protest against the Eben Etzebeth saga.
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.
Etzebeth had allegedly referred to coloured members of the Langebaan yacht club as “h*tn*ts”, before being accused of not doing enough to intervene in a scuffle that broke out at a local bar.
The HRC confirmed that it wouldn’t be in contact with Etzebeth until the end of the showpiece tournament, while SA Rugby has backed their star second rower unless the police require him again for their investigation.
Yet De Villiers believes SA Rugby should’ve been more proactive and launched an internal investigaion.
“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 have opted not to take that option and allowed Etzebeth to go with the team to the World Cup.”
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.
“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 said.
De Villiers also said 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. 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.”