SA Rugby is using the Springbok emblem illegally because it failed to renew its licence to use it, sports minister Makhenkesi Stofile said on Tuesday.

SABC radio reported that Stofile told parliament’s portfolio committee on sport that his department was the rightful owner of the Springbok and Protea trademarks.

While presenting his department’s annual report to the committee, Stofile said legal action was underway to recover royalties owed by SA Rugby for its use of the Springbok emblem.

The Springbok emblem has made news headlines more than once in the past weeks, first when sports committee chair Butana Komphela suggested that it be abolished because it divided the nation.

The ruling ANC, however, said it wanted the Springbok to stay. Last week, Springbok player Luke Watson said he wanted to vomit on his Springbok jersey because he believed it represented a lack of transformation.

His statement sparked rumours that his fellow players had vowed to boycott their upcoming European tour if he was part of the team.