Bongi Mbonambi will be allowed to play in the Rugby World Cup final, according to reports, even if the threat of a suspension still hangs over the South Africa hooker.
World Rugby are currently investigating allegations that the Springboks front-rower called England’s Tom Curry a “white c**t” during Saturday’s Rugby World Cup semi-final.
That investigation is continuing, but The Telegraph are reporting that it will not be completed by the time of the final against the All Blacks.
The newspaper were told that it is “highly unlikely” the review will be concluded prior to the Boks taking on New Zealand in the showpiece event.
Even if charges are brought against Mbonambi, the hearing would have to take place at least 48 hours later to determine whether any punishment should be handed down.
World Rugby are still at the evidence-gathering stage of their investigation, speaking to both the respective parties while also checking all audio and video footage.
The alleged incident was reported by England flanker Curry to referee Ben O’Keeffe in the 23rd minute of the World Cup semi-final when he asked: “Sir, Sir, if their hooker calls me a white c**t, what do I do?”
Mbonambi has yet to respond to the allegations, while the Springboks have not directly addressed them in their press conferences so far.
SA Rugby statement
The only official response has come via a statement from SA Rugby on Sunday.
“We are aware of the allegation, which we take very seriously, and are reviewing the available evidence. We will engage with Bongi if anything is found to substantiate the claim,” it read.
World Rugby opened an investigation after the Rugby Football Union contacted them on Sunday, asking them to look into the matter.
However, Curry did not want to be drawn on Mbonambi’s alleged comment immediately after the match as he said: “It does not need to be talked about.”