A legal attempt to block the South African team flying to the UK to play in the Rugby World Cup in a row over racial discrimination has failed.

A judge in Pretoria dismissed an opposition political party’s bid to block the Springboks over a perceived lack of black players.

Nine non-white players have been named in the 31-man Springbok squad.

Rugby has historically been a white-dominated sport in South Africa, where apartheid ended in 1994.


Judge Ntendeya Mavundla said the court did not have the power to hear the case brought by the The Agency for New Agenda (ANA), a small party made up of disgruntled members of the governing African National Congress (ANC).

The ANA had demanded that the passports of Springbok players and coaching staff be confiscated to prevent them from travelling to the six-week tournament, due to be held in England and Wales from 18 September.

Despite dismissing the request, Judge Mavundla criticised the “snail’s pace” of racial transformation in sport in South Africa.

Rugby became a symbol of national reconciliation when South Africa’s first black President Nelson Mandela famously donned the Springboks jersey at the 1995 World Cup final in Johannesburg.

However, it has since become dogged by controversy over alleged racism and some black people say they will not support the team at this year’s World Cup.