Bongi Mbonambi cleared to play in World Cup final
Bongi Mbonambi is off the hook. World Rugby announced early on Thursday its investigation into the allegation that Mbonambi had used a racial slur had come to nothing.
World Rugby's investigation into the allegation by England Flank Tom Curry that Mbonambi directed a racial slur towards him in the Springboks' 16-15 2023 Rugby World Cup semifinal victory against England in Paris on Saturday found there was insufficient evidence to take action.
The decision means Mbonambi is free to play for the Springboks in Saturday's World Cup final against New Zealand at Stade de France (9pm).
“World Rugby has undertaken a review of allegations made by England’s Tom Curry in relation to the use of discriminatory language by South Africa’s Mbongeni Mbonambi ... along with a further allegation brought forward in recent days about a previous match in the Autumn Nations Series 2022,” the ruling body said on Thursday morning.
“Any allegation of discrimination is taken extremely seriously by World Rugby, warranting a thorough investigation. Having considered all the available evidence, including match footage, audio and evidence from both teams, the governing body has determined that there is insufficient evidence at this time to proceed with charges.
“Therefore, the matter is deemed closed unless additional evidence comes to light.
“It is important to note that World Rugby accepts that Tom Curry made the allegations in good faith and that there is no suggestion the allegation was deliberately false or malicious.
“World Rugby is also concerned by the social media abuse that both players have been subjected to this week. There is no place in rugby or society for discrimination, abuse or hate speech, and World Rugby urges fans to embrace the sport’s values of respect, integrity and solidarity.”
SA Rugby was pleased with the outcome of the World Rugby probe.
“SA Rugby has noted World Rugby’s announcement concerning their investigation into an incident arising from the Rugby World Cup semifinal and welcomes the decision that no further action will be taken,” it said.
“Any form of racism is abhorrent to SA Rugby and the Springbok team whose purpose is to do everything in its power to assist in uniting our diverse and multicultural nation.
“Bongi Mbonambi is an experienced, respected and decorated Test player and, needless to say, denied the allegations from the outset. SA Rugby has absolute faith in the honesty and integrity of Bongi.
“The team’s focus remains, as it has throughout the week, on Saturday’s match against New Zealand.
“SA Rugby will make no further comment on the matter.”
Would you like to comment on this article?
Sign up (it's quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.