Rugby Union: Top players blame Sarfu for disharmony

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The Independent Online
A NUMBER of South Africa's leading international players said through their lawyer yesterday that the sport's administrators had wrecked efforts at nation-building which began soon after the country's first all-race elections.

Gary Janks, a Johannesburg lawyer who represents several of the winning World Cup Springboks, said that players were embarrassed by the South African Rugby Football Union and its president, Louis Luyt.

The black-led National Sports Council has threatened rugby with a renewed ban on international tours unless the executive resigns, although apparently the head it really wants to roll is Luyt's.

Janks said players were too scared to speak out publicly because they feared they would never be allowed to play again. Those who had tried to raise issues were accused of harming the sport. Janks represents Joost van der Westhuizen, Hennie le Roux, Ruben Kruger, Balie Swart, Mark Andrews and the captain, Gary Teichmann.

Sarfu is under pressure from black sports officials after they challenged President Nelson Mandela's decision to appoint a commission of inquiry into accusations of financial irregularities and racism in the game.

The Afrikaans newspaper Rapport yesterday called for ousted Springbok captain Francois Pienaar to return from Saracens to rescue the sport.