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23rd Oct 2023

South Africa’s Bongi Mbonambi accused of racist slur by England’s Tom Curry


South Africa’s Bongi Mbonambi has been accused of a racial slur by England’s Tom Curry after their Rugby World Cup quarter final clash.

The alleged slur took place in the first half of the game with the England back-row’s complaints having been picked up on Ben O’Keeffe’s ref-mic. The 25-year-old England flanker accused the South African of calling him a ‘white c**t.’

“Sir, Sir, if their hooker calls me a white c**t, what do I do?” Curry asked the New Zealand referee in the 23rd minute of the game.

O’Keeffe responded to England player’s complaints by saying “Nothing please,” before he added “I will be on it.”

Curry refused to expand on the slur when questioned by reporters after the game, but he did confirm that a comment had been made. “It does not need to be talked about,” he said.

England were narrowly defeated by South Africa, on a scoreline of 16-15 having led for large parts of the game. A late try by Munster lock RG Snyman dragged the Boks back into the game before Handre Pollard sealed the deal for Rassie Erasmus’ side with a 77th minute penalty from all of 49 metres.

South Africa will now take on New Zealand in the final, next Saturday at 8.00.

England captain Owen Farrell spoke of his pride in his team after the loss.

“I’m unbelievably proud of this group,” he told Virgin Media Sport.

“The crowd today was unbelievable. After a difficult loss like that, the only thing that stands with me at the minute is how proud I am to be English,” he said.

South Africa’s assistant coach Deon Davids said after the game that he didn’t have any knowledge about the alleged comment from his player.

“I am not aware of any comment, it was never discussed. I don’t know,” he said.

Mbonambi had refused to shake Curry’s hand after the match.


World Rugby have since issued a statement on the issue saying: “World Rugby takes all allegations of discriminatory behaviour extremely seriously.

“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.”

The statement concluded: “World Rugby will not be making further comment until the conclusion of the process.”