Kings captain Luke Watson has expressed his remorse for saying that rugby in South Africa was ‘run by Dutchmen’ three years ago.
Watson for the first time admitted to making the remark and said it is one of his greatest regrets.
“I have tried to deny it in the past, but the fact of the matter is I slipped up and made a mistake. In a heated debate and discussion, I used those words,” Watson told Radio 702's Sports Talk.
“It is the one thing in my life that I regret more than anything. In a heated moment, I took out my anger and my frustration, all the hurt and the tough times I have been through in my life.
“It’s something that even to this day I am deeply ashamed and deeply embarrassed about, because I have loads of Afrikaans friends, loads of people in my life that have supported me and invested in me in the Afrikaans community.”
Watson explained that his intention was to highlight the imbalances he believed existed in South African rugby and not to take a shot at Afrikaans people. He assured that he does not stand by those words with the Kings less than a month away from making their Super Rugby debut.
“I cannot be more opposed to venomous talk like that today. I never meant it in that [a derogatory] regard. Do I believe that there is still a massive need for transformation in this South African rugby? Yes. Do I believe that South African rugby is still controlled by white people? Yes.
“That black people are not afforded the same opportunities that they should be afforded? The black community is not invested in, in the way it should be? Yes. But the word Dutchman will never leave my mouth again and I’m bitterly disappointed in myself that I did use the word,” said Watson.
Watson also admitted to making a remark that insinuated that South African rugby made him so nauseous that he wanted to vomit on the Springbok jersey and spoke about his controversial inclusion in the Springbok squad.
Watson explained: “It wasn’t those exact words but you have to have the full background to the story. When I started playing decent rugby at decent levels I quickly became an instrument and a pawn. I was taken advantage of at times.
“In my youth and naivety I was manipulated quite a bit. For example, being the 46th man in Jake White’s 45-man squad…not a good way to start. I always knew I shouldn’t be there because I wasn’t selected but there was a massive amount of political pressure behind me, certain politicians and influential people saying 'Luke, you need to be there, we fought for you to be there, so many people spilt blood for the liberation of rugby in this country. You are a symbol of liberation and that struggle.'
“I was a young kid being sold this story. Whether it was true or not was irrelevant. In hindsight I would’ve withdrawn but being a young kid I was under a substantial amount of pressure so I just did what I was told was the right thing to do.”
Gilbert has released a new line of rugby cleats. The Gilbert Virtuo 8S is part of the exciting new product. Check it out.
The entire All Blacks apparel line has been updated for 2013/14. Check out the New Zealand All Blacks polo.
The Nike Tiempo is a solid rugby cleat and one of few styles still made from full-grain natural leather.
The Gilbert Blitz 8S rugby cleat is a great cleat at a great price of $69.99. Get a new pair of cleats today.
A cool looking all black rugby cleat with the high performance adidas is known for. Get in the Gear!
Wear the crest of the British and Irish Lions on your t-shirt. A great look for the summer.
The All Blacks Performance t-shirt is black with hints of blue from the training jersey. Very Cool.
The New Zealand All Blacks training jersey for 2013/14. Get in the Gear!
The USA Rugby Pro Alternate rugby jersey is perfect for any fan of the Eagles. Get yours to wear during the summer Test matches.
The NEW All Blacks 2013/14 jersey has arrived at World Rugby Shop. Dare to wear the colors of the All Blacks.