South Africa have condemned the “hooligans” who sent a death threat to their halfback Cobus Reinach ahead of the Rugby World Cup semi-final against England.
Montpellier player Reinach was targeted on social media in the wake of his country’s 29-28 quarter-final victory over hosts France.
Springboks director of rugby Rassie Erasmus highlighted the abuse directed at the 33-year-old by posting a screen grab on his X account.
South Africa assistant coach Mzwandile Stick, who said Reinach is in a “good space”, praised the security levels at the tournament and believes the matter is being handled by the French authorities.
“We’re well aware of the situation with Cobus and his family,” Stick said on Friday on the eve of facing England in Paris.
“We don’t have a place for hooligans in our game. The players do their job to make sure they represent their country and we are here to represent South Africa.
“If somebody has got a problem with that, I think the French authorities will have to deal with that.
“But from our side, we’ll make sure we protect each other: our players, management, everyone involved.
“We don’t have a place for that in the game. You win some, lose some as part of the game.
“Whoever sent that message to the player, I’m really disappointed about that.
“We’ll keep doing everything in our powers to make sure we make our people proud at home.
“Regarding the situation, I think it’s well handled now by the French authorities.”
Reinach, who played in England for Northampton between 2017 and 2020, will start against Steve Borthwick’s side at the Stade de France as part of an unchanged South Africa line-up.
The message sent to him, translated from French, read: “Dirty son of a b****. I hope that when you return to Montpellier you get murdered by French people on the ground. Gang of thieves. Easy to win a title by cheating.”
Many France supporters criticised the performance of the match officials following their elimination at the hands of the Springboks, while Les Bleus captain Antoine Dupont suggested New Zealand referee Ben O’Keeffe was not “up to the level of the game”.
Asked how Reinach is feeling, Stick replied: “He’s proper. I’ve seen him every day.
“He’s in a good space, he’s got his family around him.
“In our camp, we must also give credit to the French security around our hotels. With all the teams, the security is just another level.
“I don’t think at the moment there is something to worry about because we know for sure we are well protected in our camps.”
Champions South Africa are overwhelming favourites to progress from Saturday’s (Sunday AEDT) game and remain on course to retain the crown they claimed against England in Yokohama four years ago.