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SA Rugby stands by Etzebeth after claims of racist, physical attack against 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."

Springbok player Eben Etzebeth. Picture: @EbenEtzebeth/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Rugby Union said on Monday it would “co-operate with the authorities in any way necessary” and has “no tolerance of acts of violence or racial abuse” after Eben Etzebeth was accused of physical and racial violence at a bar in Langebaan over the weekend.

But it remains behind him, saying he remains a Springbok unless they learn it was him who committed the acts.

“We have spoken to Eben and he categorically denies any physical or racial abuse on his part as has been alleged in social media. He is a member of the Springbok squad and will remain so unless police authorities require our reconsideration”, the Saru statement said.

A woman, Yorayda Papier-Jansen, accused Etzebeth and others of assaulting and pointing a gun at a homeless man. She also said in a Facebook post that she and her cousin were racially abused by the rugby player and others in his company. A video of the incident circulated on social media over the weekend. Etzebeth denied the claims in a Facebook post.

“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,” he said.

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

In the statement released on Monday, SA Rugby said there has been contact with the player over the incident.

Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus is set to announce his 31-man World Cup squad later on Monday afternoon.