Eben Etzebeth in Springbok World Cup squad despite assault claims

Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth has denied assaulting a homeless man or using racial slurs.
Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth has denied assaulting a homeless man or using racial slurs.
Image: BackpagePix

Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth will be on the flight to Japan for the Rugby World Cup, it emerged just hours after he had to deny assaulting a homeless man in the Western Cape.

The 27-year-old lock was accused of assaulting a man and using racial slurs at the weekend in Langebaan, about 120km north of Cape Town.

Etzebeth vehemently denied the claim, and described it as “unfounded”.

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On Monday, during the World Cup squad announcement, Etzebeth was named as part of the Springboks' forward pack for the tournament.

In a statement issued on Monday, SA Rugby threw its weight behind him.

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

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

No arrests have been made.

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