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Last Updated: Friday, 5 December, 2003, 10:31 GMT
South African chief resigns
Ex-Springbok coach Rudolf Straeuli
Ex-Springbok coach Rudolf Straeuli left his job on Thursday
South African rugby union plunged further into crisis on Friday when another of its top officials resigned.

Silas Nkanunu, president of the South African Rugby Football Union (Sarfu), quit just 24 hours after Springbok coach Rudolf Straeuli and SA Rugby managing director Rian Oberholzer also stood down.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the beleaguered union, Nkanunu cited a combination of the Boks' failure to either change their culture or improve under his leadership as the main reason for his decision.

"In the area of the Springbok team we have failed to achieve the transformation or the performance results which we set ourselves when I took over as president," he said.

"It is fair to suggest that leadership should accept responsibility for failure to achieve those goals. This happened during my watch."

Nkanunu had asked to address the meeting soon after it began and spoke for 30 minutes.

He had been scheduled to face a leadership challenge on Friday from his vice president, Brian van Rooyen.

South Africa had a poor World Cup, losing 29-9 to New Zealand in the last eight, and they were rocked by racism accusations in the build-up.

The hierarchy has also been criticised for allowing the players to go on a brutal training camp before the tournament.

During the team-building session, players were forced naked into a freezing lake to pump up rugby balls under water.

  • Sarfu has asked the South African government to widen its inquiry into racism in rugby to other sports.

    Retired judge Edwin King - who led an investigation into cricket match-fixing in 2000 - has already been selected to probe specific incidents of alleged racism.

    [The inquiry] should assist the process of reconciliation and healing in this country
    SA government spokesman
    The government are eager to investigate the issue as soon as possible.

    "We are ready to set the ball rolling virtually immediately," said government spokesman Graham Abrams.

    "We do feel that South African rugby is probably a reflection of South African society, and everybody believes that there are elements of prejudice in places.

    "It should never be an attempt to go on a witch hunt, but rather to assist the process of reconciliation and healing in this country. "

    Straeuli quits Springboks
    04 Dec 03  |  Internationals
    Straeuli set to resign
    03 Dec 03  |  Rugby Union
    Springboks accused over race
    28 Nov 03  |  Rugby Union
    Minister demands Boks inquiry
    26 Nov 03  |  Rugby Union

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