SARU: Why risk the lives of Sportsmen and women?

SARU: Why risk the lives of Sportsmen and women?


25 April 2022

Mr Jurie Roux
Chief Executive
South African Rugby Union (SARU)

Dear Mr Jurie Roux


It is with dismay that we note the South African Rugby Union’s (SARU) adoption of a mandatory Covid-19 vaccination policy, in respect of all participants in all competitions run under the auspices of SARU.

This decision will, according to a circular in our possession, also be applicable to all Youth Rugby Weeks, impacting on sportsmen and -women under the age of 18.

This decision may well prove to have an everlasting effect on the health and lives of the many young sportsmen and -women being forced into subjecting themselves to this drastic medical intervention.

We wish to emphasise that, as a minimum ethical requirement, before any particular medical intervention is conducted, a risk-benefit analysis, for each individual involved, must be conducted. Not adhering to this principle may expose the enforcer of this arrangement to a wide range of legal and ethical violations, or at the very least, may point to gross negligence and unprofessional conduct.  

We respectfully wish to bring the following to your attention: 

  • from well-researched statistics, the probability of anyone below the age of 20 dying from Covid-19, has been shown to be less than 10 in a million - on average 2-3 in a million - with comorbidities being the biggest risk indicator; 
  • it is safe to assume that boys with comorbidities, including obesity, diabetes, heart conditions, do not play rugby; young rugby players are therefore not at risk as they are fit and healthy; 
  • the probability of death from using the Covid-19 vaccine has been published by the U.S. Centre for Disease Control (CDC) and Pfizer’s own safety report, as at least 25 in a million, with more likely figures of 120 or more per million people, from research on adverse effect data; 
  • a boy’s risk of contracting myocarditis, following Covid-19 vaccination, is extremely high. By now this is a well-known adverse effect of Covid-19 vaccines; the risk of myocarditis and pericarditis is up to 70 cases per million for the age group 16-24 years;
  • the long-term effects of Covid-19 vaccines are unknown, and the situation can only get worse in the future. There is no evidence that the Covid-19 vaccines will be safe in the long run, and often the damage is irreversible.

Consequently, SARU needs to consider the following: why do you risk at least 25 lives, and up to 70 boys’ future, to save 3 boys’ lives, when we know that the boys who are at risk are most likely not in the healthy rugby playing groups? Clearly, this is irrational.

There is no published evidence, short- or long-term, to show any acceptable risk-benefit from the Covid-19 vaccines, but there is sufficient evidence to show very high risk, for no benefit. There is thus no guarantee at all that the vaccines will not cause future harm.

It has been publicly stated that at least 80% of the country has been infected by Covid-19, and recorded figures show that natural immunity gives better protection, especially against emerging variants, and is longer lasting than any Covid-19 vaccination. 

In a recent article in The Lancet, a well-respected medical journal, it was stated that “in patients with Omicron infections, recovery of infectious virus was not affected by vaccination”. Consequently, there is absolutely no reason to sacrifice young lives, whether to death or permanent injury, when vaccination offers no benefit. 

As a basic ethical-, moral- and constitutional requirement, children, and their parents, must have the choice to reject the risk of vaccination, and in the process of making such decision, have to be fully informed about the potential risks associated with these vaccines, and should form part of the risk-assessment. Simply following Government’s one-sided narrative, without having regard to factual evidence and opposing conclusions, is not sufficient. Also, making Covid-19 vaccination a mandatory requirement, simply because SARU has made a decision to that effect, is not only not good enough, but simply wrong - on all grounds.

In the final analysis, the accountability for a decision to exert undue pressure on young sportsmen, to put their lives and health on the line in order to participate in a sport, lies with you.

We approach you with this ‘open letter’, specifically with the purpose that as many as possible sportsmen and -women may view this.

In conclusion, we plead with you, in light of the safety data and the absence of risk-benefit, not to mandate Covid-19 vaccination. 

Yours faithfully,

G.C. Papenfus



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