Rugby Union: Doubts surround Mordt's eligibility: Springbok faces ban

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The Independent Online
THE South Africans thought they had exercised a neat sidestep when they turned Ray Mordt from a coach into a fitness instructor. But there is every chance the former Springbok wing will still be barred from the tour to Wales, Scotland and Ireland because of his rugby league connections.

When Kitch Christie was appointed South Africa coach last month he immediately called on Mordt, who was Christie's assistant when Transvaal beat England in May and has now succeeded him as coach of the Currie Cup holders.

But International Board regulations specifically exclude reinstated former league players from coaching, selecting, organising or administering internationally and the IB will rule within the next day or two on Mordt's eligibility. He signed for Wigan in 1985 and was reinstated in 1991.

'Fitness-advising is not specifically mentioned but I would claim that he's got to do some organising and administering,' Bob Weighill, the home unions secretary, said yesterday. 'We've got to operate within the spirit of the IB laws.' So however absurd, this at least is one law that will be enforced.

Yesterday Mordt was incredulous that, when sundry ex-professionals in Australia were actually playing rugby union again, he could not coach - or even fitness-instruct - the Springboks.

'I have served my sentence. What do they want me to do now: serve a life sentence? I'm coaching at provincial level, so why not at international level? People must realise that at the time I went to rugby league, rugby in South Africa was in isolation.'

In Cape Town, the South African Rugby Football Union's general manager, Arrie Oberholzer, said he was waiting to hear from the IB. The South African party, with or without Mordt, is due to be announced on 8 October.