Johannesburg: Eben Etzebeth, who has denied allegations of pointing a gun at a homeless man at the weekend, was included Monday in a surprise-free 31-man Springboks Rugby World Cup squad.
The 27-year-old lock was accused on social media of assaulting and pointing a gun at a homeless man Sunday in the coastal town of Langebaan, 135 kilometres (84 miles) north of Cape Town.
“It is completely untrue and unfounded to claim that I physically or racially abused anyone in Langebaan as has been reported on social media,” the 78-cap star told the South African media.
“Multiple witnesses can corroborate that. I am and will always strive to be a true ambassador to this beautiful rainbow nation and the sport that I love.”
South Africa leave for Japan on Friday and will play the World Cup hosts on September 6 ahead of a mouth-watering Pool B opener against defending champions New Zealand 15 days later. The Springboks also face Namibia, Italy and Canada and they and the All Blacks are hot favourites to fill the top two positions and qualify for the quarter-finals.
Forwards (17): Steven Kitshoff (Stormers), Tendai Mtawarira (Sharks), Schalk Brits (Bulls), Malcolm Marx (Lions), Bongi Mbonambi (Stormers), Vincent Koch (Saracens/ENG), Frans Malherbe (Stormers), Trevor Nyakane (Bulls), Eben Etzebeth (Stormers), Lood de Jager (Bulls), Franco Mostert (Gloucester/ENG), RG Snyman (Bulls), Siya Kolisi (Stormers, capt), Francois Louw (Bath/ENG), Kwagga Smith (Lions), Pieter-Steph du Toit (Stormers), Duane Vermeulen (Bulls).
Backs (14): Warrick Gelant (Bulls), Willie le Roux (Toyota Verblitz/JPN), Cheslin Kolbe (Toulouse/FRA), Sibusiso Nkosi (Sharks), Lukhanyo Am (Sharks), Jesse Kriel (Bulls), Damian de Allende (Stormers), Francois Steyn (Montpellier/FRA), Makazole Mapimpi (Sharks), Elton Jantjies (Lions), Handre Pollard (Bulls), Herschel Jantjies (Stormers), Faf de Klerk (Sale Sharks/ENG), Cobus Reinach (Northampton Saints/ENG)
Coach: Rassie Erasmus (RSA).