‘Insufficient evidence’ to charge South Africa rugby player with racial abuse

todayOctober 26, 2023 4

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‘Insufficient evidence’ to charge South Africa rugby player with racial abuse

World Rugby has found there is “insufficient evidence” to charge South Africa’s Bongi Mbonambi over the alleged racial abuse of an England player during the World Cup semi-final.

Tom Curry claimed hooker Mbonambi racially abused him during last Saturday’s match at the Stade de France.

However, the tournament’s governing board has investigated and closed the case, meaning Mbonambi is free to play in the World Cup final on Saturday when South Africa face New Zealand.

World Rugby revealed it has also been investigating another allegation which arose from the rivals’ clash at Twickenham in November 2022.

A statement said: “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.

“It is important to note that World Rugby accepts that Tom Curry made the allegations in good faith, and that there is no suggestion that the allegation was deliberately false or malicious.”

Curry made the accusation to referee Ben O’Keeffe during the second half of the match.

He asked the official what he should do about it, to which O’Keeffe replied: “Nothing, please. I’ll be on it.”

England's Tom Curry speaks to referee Ben O’Keeffe during the Rugby World Cup, semi final match at the Stade de France, Saint-Denis. England have until Monday morning to lodge a complaint after Tom Curry alleged he was the victim of a racist slur in Saturday’s 16-15 World Cup semi-final defeat by South Africa. Picture date: Friday October 21, 2023.

England’s Tom Curry spoke to referee Ben O’Keeffe during the semi-final

After the match, he replied “yeah” when asked if Mbonambi had said something he shouldn’t have, but declined to reveal what was allegedly said.

Mbonambi refused to shake Curry’s hand after the clash, which the Springboks won with a penalty two minutes from the end.

England Rugby ‘deeply disappointed’

England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU) has said it is “deeply disappointed” by the decision not to put the evidence before an Independent Disciplinary Panel.

It also condemned the “disgusting abuse he and his family has received on social media” since Curry “had the courage to put unacceptable behaviour that has no place in society or on the rugby field, in the public eye”.

The statement continued: “Abuse of any kind is not acceptable and goes against the core values of rugby.

“It is important that it is safe and acceptable for everyone involved in rugby union to raise concerns, and the RFU continue to encourage everyone to report any unacceptable behaviour in the game.”

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South Africa Rugby has also responded, saying it has faith in Mbonambi’s honesty.

Its statement read: “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.”

Written by: Newsroom

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