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Monday Aug 26, 2019

Springboks shaken by double-dose of unsettling accusations

It’s been a distressing weekend for South Africa as the team has been rocked by news involving two superstar players. Winger Aphiwe Dyantyi has tested positive for a banned substance, while talisman lock Eben Etzebeth has been accused of assaulting and racially abusing a homeless man.

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Dyantyi tested positive for a banned substance on August 14 by South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport for a urine sample given on July 2 while attending a South African training camp. He has now denied any wrongdoing and has requested the testing of B sample.

World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year 2018, Dyantyi stated: “I want to deny ever taking any prohibited substance, intentionally or negligently, to enhance my performance on the field. I believe in hard work and fair play. I have never cheated and never will.

“The presence of this prohibited substance in my body has come as a massive shock to me and together with my management team and experts appointed by them, we are doing everything we can to get to the source of this and to prove my innocence.”

Dyantyi has been struggling with injury for some time now so was not expected to be named in the Springbok’s Rugby World Cup squad, which gets announced today (Monday).

As for Etzebeth, the lock has denied allegations of assault – including the pointing of a gun – and racial abuse stemming from a video that surfaced over the weekend in Langebaan.

According to Netwerk24, a charge has been filed and those involved are being questioned. For his part, Etzebeth took to Facebook to make it clear he had nothing to do with the incident.

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Hopefully for the Springboks, these accusations will prove unfounded. Regardless, this is not the kind of news any team wants this close to a World Cup.

The Springbok squad will be named today at 15:00 (CAT).

Full Aphiwe Dyantyi statement:

On Wednesday, 14 August 2019, I was notified by SAIDS that a urine sample that I had provided on 2 July 2019, during my attendance at the Springbok camp, had returned a positive result for a banned substance.

We have requested that my “B sample” be tested and will have feedback during the course of the next couple of days.

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I would like to put the following on record;

– I want to deny ever taking any prohibited substance, intentionally or negligently to enhance my performance on the field. I believe in hard work and fair play. I have never cheated and never will;

– The presence of this prohibited substance in my body has come as a massive shock to me and together with my management team and experts appointed by them, we are doing everything we can to get to the source of this and to prove my innocence;

– As a professional sportsman on national and international level we get tested on a regular basis. I have been tested before and again, since this test. It is part of the job and we all know that each and every player is bound to get tested at least two to four times a year. Taking any prohibited substance would not only be irresponsible and something that I would never intentionally do, it would also be senseless and stupid;

I underwent a drug-test on the 15th of June 2019 (only two weeks prior to the 2nd July testing) which did not return any adverse finding;

I want to apologise in advance to my team-mates and management at the Lions and Springboks, my friends and my family for the negative impact this news may have. Personally this game has given me an opportunity to inspire not only the young rugby hopefuls but South Africans across all walks of life and that is something I do not take for granted and something I would definitely not risk by doing a stupid act like this.

I will now put all my energy in working with my support team and focus in proving my innocence in this matter and will not be providing any comments until there are further developments in the matter that warrants comment from my side.

Aphiwe Dyantyi

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