Bok scrumhalf caught in bizarre case of mistaken identity

Bok scrumhalf caught in bizarre case of mistaken identity

Springbok scrumhalf Faf de Klerk has been forced to refute some truly extraordinary claims from a Western Cape police officer.

Stellenbosch police captain Lesley Smith is accusing De Klerk of getting involved in a road rage incident with him and threatening to kill him before driving off in a battered Toyota Corolla, even going so far as to charge the World Cup winner with attempted murder.

There's just one problem with Smith's claims: De Klerk has never driven a Toyota Corolla and was not even in the country at the time of the alleged incident.

The 31-year-old strongly refuted the claims via his agent, and there appears to be ample evidence to suggest he was nowhere near Stellenbosch when the incident in question occurred on December 8.

"Faf has never driven a Toyota Corolla in his life," said his agent Lean Schwartz.

"He left the country with the Springboks for their end-of-year tour to Europe, where after he left London for Tokyo, Japan to join his new club, Yokohama Cannon Eagles."

Schwartz said it took them just 30 minutes after first hearing of the accusation to provide evidence that the allegations were untrue, including sending copies of De Klerk's passport and visa to the police investigating officer.

The documents show that De Klerk departed London for Dubai on November 27 before flying straight to Japan to join his new club, Yokohama Cannon Eagles, and that he has not left Japan since.

Footage of the scrumhalf with fellow club teammates during training in Tokyo is all over the internet, with time stamps ranging from the end of November up until early this month.

Despite this evidence, Smith said he had not withdrawn the charges against De Klerk.

Meanwhile, police confirmed that the investigating officer in the matter was following up on "available leads to prepare and present the case docket to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for a decision".

South Africa's Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus told the Weekend Argus that it was not uncommon for players to have to deal with such accusations.

"I can tell you we receive various allegations (and) stories that we don't really react anymore, seeing that the players' personal life is their own," he said.

SA Rugby also gave an official response on the matter, pointing out that "public figures, such as rugby players, are easy targets for those who wish to garner attention for their own spurious and possibly pecuniary reasons."

Even SA Rugby president Mark Alexander weighed in, saying he hoped "that guy (the complainant) has a lot of money".

According to legal expert Ulrich Roux, De Klerk would be within his rights to institute a civil action against the complainant for defaming him if he was able to show that he suffered reputational harm.

"He would have to show evidence of the harm, though I don't expect him to take any further action in that regard... it's a made-out case that he is going to be cleared."