World Rugby has officially announced its intention to conduct a thorough investigation into the reported use of a racial slur directed at England’s Tom Curry by South Africa’s hooker, Bongi Mbonambi.
Curry approached referee Ben O’Keeffe to report the comment half an hour into the Springboks’ Rugby World Cup semi-final victory.
If found guilty, Mbonambi faces suspension and potentially miss the final against New Zealand this Saturday.
World Rugby said it will take the allegation “extremely seriously.
The governing body has also stated that it will refrain from providing any additional statements regarding the incident until its review process is completed.
After the match, the England flanker was questioned about whether he had experienced any inappropriate comments from Mbonambi.
Yeah,” he replied, before adding that “it does not need to be talked about”.
It seemed that Mbonambi declined to shake hands with Curry, further highlighting the ongoing tension between the two teams after the match concluded.
South Africa’s scrum coach, Daan Human, opted not to address the particular incident during a media conference held on Monday.
When Asked about Mbonambi, Human said, “Bongi has been part of this group for the last six years. He’s a very, very important piece of our puzzle. He’s a very, very humble guy, is down to earth and is a hard worker. He’s a very calm guy, a well spoken guy.”
Teams are usually given up to 36 hours after the conclusion of matches to report incidents to the citing commissioner.
Mbonambi, 32, is the only specialist hooker within the South Africa squad, as the team’s management had earlier chosen to replace the injured Malcolm Marx with fly-half Handre Pollard during the tournament.
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SA Rugby, the governing body of South African rugby, had already started its own investigations into Curry’s allegations.
“We are aware of the allegation, which we take very seriously, and are reviewing the available evidence,” it said.”We will engage with Bongi if anything is found to substantiate the claim.”
During New Zealand’s media conference on Monday, All Blacks defense coach Scott McLeod commented, “This is something that World Rugby will handle. If any action is taken, it could have a significant impact on them. He is a leader within their team.