Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick expresses his sadness as riots and violence continues

14 July 2021 - 11:12
Springbok assistant coaches Mzwandile Stick.
Springbok assistant coaches Mzwandile Stick.
Image: SA Rugby/Twitter

Springbok assistant coach Mzwandile Stick has expressed his sadness at the rampant looting and destruction of property that is currently taking place at some of the major cities in the country.

Stick pleaded for calm on Tuesday as SA ‘A’ prepare to take on the touring British and Irish Lions at the Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday night in a match he hopes will bring smiles to distressed South Africans.

On Tuesday crowds clashed with police and the army as they continued to loot or burn shopping centres‚ mostly in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

“We are living in sad times currently with what we have seen on social media and also when it comes to the news on television‚” he said.

“One of the main reasons we live for as the Springboks is to put smiles on the faces of the people and give them hope. I will never forget the images on the streets after we won the World Cup where everyone‚ pink‚ black‚ white brown or yellow‚ on the streets were only speaking one language‚ which was the rugby language.

“Everyone was happy at the time and those are the moments that we want to create in South Africa. That is the hope that we want to build‚ as everything we see happening currently in the country is very‚ very sad. But once again our duty is to unite the country.

“If we get the opportunity as the Springboks team‚ we must put smiles on the faces of the people. Hopefully we can do that by getting the opportunity to play against the British and Irish Lions‚ and show people that if we work together we can achieve anything as a country and spread the positive energy amongst ourselves.

“Hopefully we can put the smiles on the people’s faces [on Wednesday] and we make sure that we get people united behind the team and help in ensuring that whatever is happening stops soon.”

His sentiments were shared by centre Lukyanyo AM‚ who will captain South Africa ‘A’ against the British and Irish Lions. AM said sport has the power to unite people during times of difficulty.

“I think this tournament is very huge and we know that rugby plays a big role in uniting our country‚ and the small areas that we come from.

"I really think for a long time we've been seeing the positive impact by sport in general in our communities and I think at this tough and challenging period we can use the sport to bring peace and unity in our country.

“I haven't been following the unrest that much but I've seen some visuals on TV‚ but for me as a player I wish that the tournament goes ahead so that we can try to change the situation through rugby.”