Rugby Union: ANC approves Test against Australia

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The Independent Online
SOUTH AFRICA'S Test against Australia at Newlands here on Saturday finally received official sanction from the African National Congress yesterday. But the 42,000 due to attend have been warned that their behaviour will determine the country's international future.

After a bitter row over the racial implications of proceedings at last Saturday's Test against New Zealand, the Wallabies heard that the Test was to be officially approved when they completed a training session after arriving from Port Elizabeth. Australia's rugby president, Joe French, had stated that his team would not play without ANC approval.

In a statement, the ANC said they had decided not to withdraw their support following an extensive consultation process on the violation of agreements between them, the National Olympic Sports Congress and the South African Rugby Football Union.

'The ANC decided that the non- racial and democratic future which will benefit all the peoples of South Africa cannot be held to ransom by a racist fringe that seeks to use the symbols of apartheid as a rallying point for an anti-democratic alliance in South Africa.'

This is a reference to what happened at Ellis Park under the direction of the Transvaal rugby president, Dr Louis Luyt, who sanctioned playing the anthem, 'Die Stem', and flying national flags in defiance of an agreement.

Western Province, who stage the next Test, and the SARFU have given assurances that this will not happen again. Also, there will be a prominent billboard and programme notes stating that rugby will play its part in building peace and democracy in South Africa.

In this more liberal-minded part of the country the agreement will probably be adhered to, but there is still a fear that some spectators will ignore the silence in honour of victims of violence as a protest against what they consider to be ANC interference in the sport.

This is to ignore the fact that without black co-operation tours by New Zealand and Australia would not have taken place.

Australia have made two changes from the team which lost the final Test to New Zealand at home last month. Willie Ofahengaue comes in as a tight flanker following an injury for Troy Coker and Tim Gavin replaces Sam Scott-Young at No 8.

AUSTRALIA (v South Africa, Cape Town, 22 August): M Roebuck; D Campese, T Horan, J Little, P Carozza; M Lynagh, N Farr-Jones (capt), J Daly, P Kearns, E McKenzie, R McCall, J Eales, W Ofahengaue, T Gavin, D Wilson.

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