Etzebeth to be named in Springbok World Cup squad after SA Rugby's conditional backing

26 August 2019 - 12:19 By Craig Ray
Eben Etzebeth. File photo.
Eben Etzebeth. File photo.
Image: Sydney Mahlangu/ BackpagePix

Lock Eben Etzebeth will be named in the Springbok Rugby World Cup 2019 squad later on Monday despite allegations of assault that emerged in social media on Sunday.

On Monday SA Rugby gave Etzebeth their conditional backing following an alleged incident that took place in a pub in Langebaan‚ a town about 120km north of Cape Town where Etzebeth spends much of his leisure time.

It’s claimed (although the identity of the accuser is unknown) that two groups clashed in the venue.

“We have spoken to Eben and he categorically denies any physical or racial abuse on his part as has been alleged in social media‚” SA Rugby said in a statement.

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“He is a member of the Springbok squad and will remain so unless police authorities require our reconsideration.

“The South African Rugby Union is a law-abiding member of South African society and has no tolerance of acts of violence or racial abuse.

“We will co-operate with the authorities in any way necessary. Our Rugby World Cup squad will have no place for anyone who transgresses those principles.

“But we also trust our people to act responsibly and tell the truth.”

The 27-year-old has denied "unfounded" reports posted on social media about the alleged incident.

"It is completely untrue and unfounded to claim that I physically or racially abused anyone in Langebaan‚ as has been reported on social media. Multiple witnesses can corroborate that‚” Etzebeth wrote on is Facebook page.

"I am and will always strive to be a true ambassador to this beautiful rainbow nation and the sport that I love.”

Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed an assault case was opened following an alleged incident at a pub in Langebaan.

"It is alleged there was an argument between two groups. There were people who were injured and transported to hospital‚” Rwexana said.

"The investigating officer is obtaining statements from the victims with no arrests so far. This office has not identified any suspects yet.”

WP Rugby‚ where Etzebeth is still under contract until the end of the month before he joins Toulon in France‚ had no comment.