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South Africa star Bongi Mbonambi free to play in Rugby World Cup final despite racism allegations


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South Africa star Bongi Mbonambi is free to play in the Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand on Saturday.

The 32-year-old played a key role as his side beat England 16-15 in the semi-finals of the tournament last weekend.

During that showdown, however, Tom Curry reported an allegation of racist abuse.

“Sir if their hooker calls me a white c**t, what do I do?” he was heard asking the referee.

South Africa star Bongi Mbonambi is free to play in the Rugby World Cup final against New Zealand on Saturday

South Africa star Bongi Mbonambi clashed with Tom Curry during England’s defeat on Saturday night


Official Ben O’Keeffe then replied saying: “Nothing please.”

He later added: “I’ll be on it.” Curry also refused to discuss the matter after England’s hearts were shattered by their agonising defeat.

World Rugby later confirmed they were investigating the incident.

“World Rugby takes allegations of discriminatory behaviour extremely seriously,” they said.

‘We can confirm that we are formally reviewing the allegation made by England’s Tom Curry in relation to the use of discriminatory language during the England versus South Africa Rugby World Cup 2023 semi-final on Saturday.

‘World Rugby will not be making any further comment until the conclusion of the process.’

But though Mbonambi remains in the spotlight, the South Africa star is free to play in Saturday’s blockbuster showdown against New Zealand.

No decision on a potential punishment is expected until after the tournament has finished, with the hooker denying any wrongdoing.

Since reporting the alleged slur, Curry has faced death threats online – as well as abuse.

His club, Sale Sharks, wrote on X: “Sale Sharks’ owners, players, coaches and staff are absolutely appalled by the nature and level of disgusting abuse directed at Tom Curry and his family in relation to an incident in the England v South Africa World Cup semi-final.

“Everyone at the club stands fully and proudly behind Tom and we look forward to welcoming him back to Carrington.”

Some rugby fans have suggested Mbonambi’s comments could have been lost in translation.

It has been mooted that he may have been saying ‘wit kant’ – which translates to ‘white side’ – in reference to England and their shirts.

Curry refused to shake the hand of his opponent after England missed out on a place in the final.

He is now focused on helping Steve Borthwick’s side finish third, with the Red and Whites set to play Argentina in the third-placed play-off on Friday.

And England attack coach Richard Wigglesworth has claimed the squad are supporting Curry.

“Tom [Curry] is good,” he said.

“I know players will have got around him. Steve and the management team have been all over it.

“I’m sure he’s getting every bit of support that he needs.

“I’m not sure you can ever put yourself in those shoes and know that feeling. What I do know is he’s an impressive young man who, if selected on Friday, will pour everything into that England shirt as he has done on the previous 49 occasions.

“It will be dealt with by World Rugby. We get stuck into our prep for Argentina.


South Africa Bongi Mbonambi

South Africa star Bongi Mbonambi has been training ahead of the Rugby World Cup final


“The process is the process and we have no knowledge of how long that will go on for or the outcome, but we have to get ready for Argentina.

“Every week there is always some sort of thing you could be distracted by.

“It’s international rugby, there’s a lot you could be distracted by. You want to be in situations where there are distractions.

“This distraction is different, but it’s still noise that isn’t about Friday night, our prep and our desire to finish in the right way.

“World Rugby has been pretty vocal in following up things in the past and they need to do the same again.”

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Written by: radioroxi

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