Springboks scrum-half opens up on the death threats he received after Rugby World Cup win

Colin Newboult
Cobus Reinach and his son following Rugby World Cup victory in 2023.

Cobus Reinach and his son following Rugby World Cup victory in 2023.

Springboks and Montpellier scrum-half Cobus Reinach has revealed the nature of the abuse he received following their Rugby World Cup victory over France.

South Africa emerged 29-28 triumphant in the quarter-finals to send the hosts crashing out of their home tournament.

Reinach, who started the match, played a key role in the win, but he then received death threats following the encounter.

The French felt aggrieved over some of the decisions given by referee Ben O’Keeffe and, according to the scrum-half, it was his praise for the official’s performance that resulted in him being hounded by Les Bleus supporters.

Threats towards him and his family

“I said after the match that the referee had been good under pressure, which led to me receiving many messages,” he told L’Equipe.

“The first message concerned me directly, telling me not to come back to Montpellier, otherwise I would be killed.

“Then it started to concern my family. People, behind their keyboards, who can attack your family. They are not the ones making decisions on the field or playing against your team, so clearly, this crosses the line.”

Reinach has already moved on from the incident, playing twice for French club side Montpellier since the conclusion of the World Cup, but he wants to see this behaviour stamped out of the sport.

“I don’t want to dwell on it because the French have been incredible, but this online harassment, which is from a minority, must stay out of this game,” he said.

“These people who told me not to come back to Montpellier, that I was going to die, that I was a cheat.”

The scrum-half then stated that some supporters even told him he “had to go to doping control,” to which Reinach jokingly added: “which is what I did after this match!”

Montpellier’s struggles

After that victory over France, the Springboks went on to defeat England and New Zealand to retain the Webb Ellis Cup.

Many South Africans are still basking in their World Cup triumph but not Reinach, who is focused on helping Montpellier improve.

The team are currently rooted to the foot of the Top 14 table with just one victory in seven matches.

Richard Cockerill has paid the price for those results, with Patrice Collazo coming in to replace him as head coach, and Reinach has issued a rallying cry ahead of their next game against Oyonnax.

“We have to fight together. When you lose, everyone can go and get angry. No, we have to be a team. Let’s not lower our heads,” he added.

READ MORE: Upheaval at Montpellier as Richard Cockerill sacked and disgraced bigwig hired