Forget race row and wear Springbok jersey to work, urges South Africa rugby boss

After politicians’ legal challenge against ‘too-white’ team, SARU president Oregan Hoskins urges public to unite behind ‘pride of our nation’

PLAYING FOR THE JERSEY: Prop Tendai Mtawarira is one of nine non-white players in the Springbok squad. Photo: World Rugby

PLAYING FOR THE JERSEY: Prop Tendai Mtawarira is one of nine non-white players in the Springbok squad. Photo: World Rugby

LONDON, 9 Sept – The president of the South African Rugby Union has written an open letter to the country appealing  for everyone to show their support by going to work in a Springbok jersey on Friday.

Race issues have dominated the build-up to Rugby World Cup 2015 but SARU chief Oregan Hoskins insists there is no basis in the accusations that rugby is an elitist, white sport.

He wrote: “Thirty-one proud South Africans, their coach and management team will climb aboard a flight to London on Friday to set off on a great adventure with one goal in mind: to bring back the Rugby World Cup for their fellow South Africans.

“They are the pride of our nation. Those players will move heaven and earth to make our country proud; they will throw their bodies into those places where the contest is at its fiercest and their chests will be bursting with pride at the honour of representing every single one of their fellow countrymen.

“Not one of those players selected himself and yet there are those who wish them ill, and even to fail, as some form of protest against rugby and what they perceive to be our transformation record.

“The good story we have been telling has been falling on deaf ears; and we do have a good news story to tell.”

CALLS FOR RACE QUOTAS

Nine of the 31-man squad are non-white, a ratio which has led to criticism and a call for a quota system from some quarters. A fringe political party even applied for a court order to stop the team competing at RWC 2015 on the basis that it is too white.

The legal challenge failed and Hoskins, who is also vice-chairman of governing body World Rugby, believes the accusations are unfounded.

“The idea of an ‘exclusive’, ‘white-dominated’ game is frankly laughable,” he added. “We fully realise that to stay relevant and vibrant in our country we need to evolve.

“I would urge all supporters to demonstrate their true feelings towards the team, in the way that the team shows its loyalty to our country – by wearing their Springbok jerseys to the shop, the office, the factory, the mine or on the farm on Friday.”

  • World Rugby

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