The South African Rugby Union (SARU) has called for an emergency meeting today to discuss reports that Springbok flanker Luke Watson referred to his Afrikaans team-mates as “Dutchmen” and that he wanted to vomit on his Springbok jersey.
Watson is reportedly furious over the reports, and according to his father, anti-apartheid sportsman Cheeky Watson, they are seeking legal advice because the remarks were made in a private discussion and they had been quoted out of context in the media.
SARU said in a statement they were shocked about the words attributed to Watson “regarding South African rugby, his Springbok teammates and the national jersey”.
SARU said it called for the emergency meeting to determine the accuracy of the reports. The meeting will be held with Western Province, the player’s contracting union, and the University of Cape Town Rugby Club, where the statements were apparently made.
SA Rugby’s manager of national teams and acting managing director, Andy Marinos said that if the reports were accurate, it was a very serious matter.
“We can’t pre-judge the matter on the strength of media reports and we can make no definitive statement until we have in our hands what evidence there may be.
A further statement will follow the meeting.
The Afrikaans newspaper Rapport said on Sunday that Watson had said he’d wanted to vomit on his Springbok jersey. Last week parliament’s porfolio committee chairman for sport, Butana Komphela, said at a sports indaba in Durban that the Springbok’s days are numbered. He called on the sports ministry to cull the Bok as soon as possible.
The civil rights initiative targeting the preserve of Afriaans, Afriforum, responded by sending legal letters to both Watson and Komphela.
The CEO of Afriforum, Kallie Kriel, said in the letter they demanded that Watson withdrew his statement that the problem with SA rugby was “that it is controlled by Dutchmen”.
Afriforum said that if Watson refused to withdraw his statement, it intended having him summoned to the Equality Court on charges of hate speech.
Watson’s statements were reportedly made when he was a guest speaker at the Umbumbo Rugby Festival at the University of Cape Town on October 3 this year.