Rugby World Cup 2023: Bongi Mbonambi accused of racial abuse – At a glance

A case of racism is currently concerning the South African national team. Its hooker Bongi Mbonambi has been accused by England’s Tom Curry after the semi-final between the two teams.

South Africa will be defending their title at the Rugby World Cup.The Springboks beat England 16-15 in an intense match on Saturday 21 October and will meet New Zealand in the final. But on Sunday 22 October, the South Africans announced that they were opening an investigation into one of their players, Bongi Mbonambi. Mbonambi was accused of using racial slurs by England’s Tom Curry.

Before the half-hour mark, the England third row complained to referee Ben O’Keeffe. He asked him what he should do, arguing that Bongi Mbonambi had called him a “white f***er”. O’Keeffe replied: “Nothing, please, I’ll be careful”. Then, after the match, when asked if the South African had said anything derogatory to him, Curry replied in the affirmative. However, he added: “There’s no need to talk about it. His coach Borthwick has decided not to comment on the episode.

A sanction could change everything for the Springboks

The South African Rugby Federation issued a press release on Sunday 22 October.It announced that it was investigating the allegations against Bongi Mbonambi. “We are aware of the allegation, which we take very seriously”, the body said, adding that it was “in the process of examining the available evidence”.

England have 36 hours in which to take action against Bongi Mbonambi. World Rugby has not commented on the incident. If Mbonambi is sanctioned for the final (he faces a 6-match ban), it could be detrimental as he is the only professional hooker in the current Springbok squad. The other, Malcolm Marx, has left his team-mates through injury.

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