Former rugby players and coaches add their voices to BLM movement

The group includes the likes of Aswin Willemse, former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers, former SA Sevens coach Paul Treu and Thando Manana.

FILE: Former Springbok winger Ashwin Willemse. Picture:

JOHANNESBURG - A group of nearly 50 rugby coaches and former players have expressed their support for Lungi Ngidi and the Black Lives Matter Movement.

The group includes the likes of Ashwin Willemse, former Springbok coach Peter de Villiers, former SA Sevens coach Paul Treu and Thando Manana.

Earlier this week, a group of former cricketers released a statement in support of Ngidi and called on Cricket South Africa to do more when it comes to dealing racism in the sport.

Now rugby personalities are adding their voices to the issue.

“What was hidden has come out. It is clear that there may be other 'white' sportspersons and others in South Africa who continue to have world views that are shaped by racism. The negative response to the comments from Lungi Ngidi identified the fault lines within cricket and society. Current and former Protea players publicly supported his views on this matter,” the statement said.

“Although SA Rugby made big strides to ensure our playing squads are representative at national level, the uninterrupted exclusion of head coaches and top administrators, classified as Black in terms of the equality laws of South Africa, continues. Most rugby unions in South Africa will quickly play the numbers game that coaching structures and administrators are indeed well represented at all levels, but it is at senior and strategic level where 'job reservation' continues. It is here that most positions are reserved for their white counterparts. Black coaches, administrators and service providers continue to be excluded as head coaches, directors of rugby, high-performance managers, CEO’s or providers of professional expertise,” the statement said.

The players and coaches added that there is an element “marginalisation” against those who do speak out against racial inequalities in sport.

“It is this fear of losing employment and being left without a plan B that is making the number of people on this list a little less than anticipated. We can no longer live in fear and our inner voices won’t be silenced anymore. From the time of colonialism, into apartheid there has been uninterrupted 'white' control of the top coaching and administrative posts,” the statement said.

“This inequality must stop and the victimisation of critical voices must end.”

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