Springboks Look into Claim by England’s Curry of Racial Slur by Mbonambi in Rugby World Cup Semi
12:56 JST, October 23, 2023
PARIS (AP) — South Africa is looking into a claim by England flanker Tom Curry that he was the subject of an alleged discriminatory remark by Springboks hooker Mbongeni Mbonambi in the teams’ Rugby World Cup semifinal match.
Curry drew the incident to the attention of referee Ben O’Keeffe in the first half of the match at the Stade de France, which the Boks won 16-15 on Saturday.
Although the alleged slur is not audible on the referee mic, Curry’s subsequent conversation with O’Keeffe is.
Curry is heard asking O’Keeffe what he should do after alleging he has been called a racial slur.
“Nothing, please,” O’Keeffe replied. “I’ll be on it.”
England has until Monday morning to lodge a complaint with the citing officer.
The Springboks responded by saying they are “aware of the allegation, which we take very seriously,” and are “reviewing the available evidence.
“We will engage with Bongi if anything is found to substantiate the claim,” SA Rugby said.
When asked after the match if Mbonambi had said something he should not have done, Curry said: “Yeah.” He declined to reveal the content of the remark.
Mbonambi took over as captain once Siya Kolisi was replaced early in the second half. Mbonambi and Curry didn’t shake hands at the end of the game, which was won by South Africa thanks to Handre Pollard’s penalty in the 78th minute.
There is a 36-hour window from when the game ends for England to lodge a complaint to the citing officer.
World Rugby can also choose to pursue the matter.
England coach Steve Borthwick declined to speak about Curry’s allegation when asked on Sunday.
“I am not going to comment on anything regarding that incident,” Borthwick said.
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