Racism scandal rocks South African rugby

Cape Town- South Africa (PANA) -- With just over a month to go before the World Cup finals in Australia, South African rugby has been rocked by a major racism scandal, with Springbok player Geo Cronje being expelled from the training squad after he refused to share a room with a black player, Quinton Davids.
Davids, who plays for Western Province in Cape Town is one of the stars in the side and is expected to play a major role in the Springbok's campaign.
Press accounts said Thursday that Cronje was ordered by coach Rudolf Straueli to share a hotel room at a training camp in Pretoria with Davids.
Cronje reportedly refused, saying he would not use the same bathroom, toilet or shower as Davids.
The managing director of South African Rugby, Rian Oberholzer has demanded that Cronje be axed from the squad with immediate effect.
"We have zero tolerance for racism in rugby and feel very strongly about this issue.
We will remove the player from the camp," Oberholzer was quoted as saying.
"The allegations will be investigated to establish whether we should have a judicial hearing and, if necessary, the player will be offered counselling," he added.
Welcoming the decision, Sports Minister Ngconde Balfour said "one or two allegations of racism should not be allowed to taint the entire camp," adding "on the eve of the announcement of the World Cup squad, we are calling on every South African to support the team so that it is representative of all sections of South Africa.
" This is not the first time Springbok rugby has been rocked by a racism scandal.
In 1997, team coach Andre Markraaff was fired for making racist comments.

28 august 2003 13:44:00

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