CAPE TOWN – SA Rugby Union president Mark Alexander has strongly denounced the flying of the old apartheid-era flag at the Springbok Test in Wellington at the weekend.
Alexander told IOL Sport on Monday that he was “immensely proud” of the Boks’ 36-34 Rugby Championship victory over the Kiwis – their first in New Zealand since 2009.
And he expressed his dismay at the sight of the old flag at the Westpac Stadium.
“We distance ourselves from this person – we don’t even know who he or she is – and we can state categorically that it’s not what this Bok team stands for,” Alexander said.
“It’s sad that things like this still happen – we are united under the South African flag, which has been in existence for long enough now, and is our country’s only flag.”
The Westpac Stadium chief executive, Shane Harmon, told New Zealand website Newshub that the people brandishing the flag were eventually asked to remove it following complaints from South Africans on social media.
After a tough couple of weeks, which saw the Boks lose to Argentina and Australia, they restored much pride by toppling the world champions.
Alexander believes that it bodes well for the next two games against the Wallabies (in Port Elizabeth on September 29) and the All Blacks (Pretoria on October 6).
“We are immensely proud of Rassie, Siya and their team, and as we’ve said before, they have our full backing building up to next year’s World Cup,” he said.
“Beating the All Blacks in New Zealand is a massive achievement, and we believe they can build on this, hopefully playing in front of two packed stadiums in Port Elizabeth and Pretoria in our next two home Tests.”
The Boks are back in SA and on 29 September they will face the @qantaswallabies in PE – have you got your tickets yet? Hurry, because they are flying! #LoveRugby @MTNza @ASICS_ZA @FNBSA @LandRoverZA pic.twitter.com/KupBsJXXLr