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Springbok Hooker Mbonambi Cleared To Play In World Cup Final

  • SPORT
  • 2 min read

South Africa hooker Bongi Mbonambi has been cleared to play in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final, World Rugby said on Thursday, after insufficient evidence was found that he used discriminatory language towards England flanker Tom Curry.

Mbonambi, the only specialist hooker in the Springbok squad as they prepare to face New Zealand in Paris, was investigated after Curry made the allegation during the first half of last weekend’s semi-final, which South Africa won 16-15.

World Rugby were subsequently asked to review a similar incident in a match between the two teams in London last year.

“Any allegation of discrimination is taken extremely seriously by World Rugby…,” it said in a statement.

“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.”

World Rugby added that it accepted that Curry made the allegation in good faith, “and that there is no suggestion that the allegation was deliberately false or malicious.”

England’s Rugby Football Union said in a statement they are “deeply disappointed” with the decision not to hold a formal hearing.

“The decision not to put the evidence before an Independent Disciplinary Panel has denied the disciplinary process the opportunity to hear Tom Curry’s voice and to independently assess his account of these serious events, together with the other available evidence,” a statement said.

The RFU claim Curry was subject to the same abuse from Mbonambi in the Springboks’ 27-13 victory over England at Twickenham last November.

England have subsequently highlighted online abuse aimed at the 25-year-old Curry.

“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.”

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi told reporters on Thursday he has reached out to Curry.

“I have spoken to him,” Kolisi said. “We can take it as players when it comes to you directly, but when it’s your family, it’s difficult.

“We support each other, I feel for his family and I hope it stops.”

Reuters