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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Captain Lashes Out at 'Lies' After Sacking by Springboks

JOHANNESBURG -- Sacked Springbok rugby captain Francois Pienaar expressed bitterness Wednesday about the way coach Andre Markgraaff had dropped him from the squad to tour Argentina, Wales and France next month.


"I am fed up with all the lies since I was left out of the team," Pienaar said in an interview with the Afrikaans-language Beeld newspaper.


Markgraaff shocked South African rugby fans Saturday when he said there was no place for Pienaar, who led the Springboks to victory in the World Cup last year, in his vision of rugby's future.


"First the coach said I have no role in the future of South African rugby," Pienaar was quoted as saying.


"Then it was said this meant only the immediate future. Then this was followed by statements that I had no role in the touring squad, that I was not available for the tour, that I had withdrawn myself," Pienaar said.


"Where is it all going to end?"


He said Markgraaff, appointed earlier this year to replace Kitch Christie, had yet to telephone him about the decision to drop him.


One of Markgraaff's two fellow selectors, Ray Mordt, quit the selection panel on Monday. "I did not support Markgraaff in his decision," Mordt said.


Former Springbok hooker Uli Schmidt has supported the dropping of Pienaar, saying a series of injuries caused concern about his health and fitness.


Schmidt, a doctor, said Pienaar's reaction times had been jeopardized by several concussion injuries and he was in danger of becoming punch drunk.


Pienaar was left out of the test series against the All Blacks in August because of injury.


Schmidt said Pienaar needed a long rest to get over his injuries properly.