Bongi Mbonambi slams ‘unprofessional’ England over Tom Curry racism dispute

Adam Kyriacou
Springboks hooker Bongi Mbonambi alongside England flanker Tom Curry.

Springboks hooker Bongi Mbonambi alongside England flanker Tom Curry.

Springboks hooker Bongi Mbonambi has criticised England for alleging he had aimed a racist insult at flanker Tom Curry during their Rugby World Cup game.

The 32-year-old front-rower was caught in an off-field storm shortly after the semi-final when it was alleged he called Curry a “white c**t” during the match.

World Rugby later cleared Mbonambi to feature in the World Cup final clash with New Zealand, saying there was ‘insufficient evidence’ he used the term.


Mbonambi had stressed it was a misunderstanding from Curry and England as he was speaking Afrikaans, which is a regular occurrence for the Bok players.

And the hooker has now labelled England “unprofessional” in how they acted in the aftermath of the fixture, which South Africa came from behind to win 16-15.

“I think it is a very sad thing when you live in a first world country [England], you think the rest of the world speaks English,” the Springbok told BBC Sport Africa.

“It was unprofessional on their part. They could have gone on a website and looked for an English dictionary and looked for the word in Afrikaans.

“People understood [in South Africa] but obviously their side was misunderstood.”

The controversy first came to light during the game when Curry approached referee Ben O’Keeffe asking him how he should respond to the alleged slur.

“Nothing please,” was the New Zealand official’s response on the field.

Boks homecoming

Mbonambi, who has since returned to South Africa to take part in the side’s bus tour of the country after their World Cup win, is just pleased the episode is over.

“I’m glad it was well taken care of [by World Rugby] and that is all in the past now,” he said.

“But I have never racially swore at him.”

READ MORE: State of the Nation: Springboks create a lasting legacy with back-to-back Rugby World Cup titles