England slam World Rugby’s verdict on Bongi Mbonambi’s ‘racially abusive’ behaviour

Jared Wright
South Africa's Mbongeni Mbonambi reacts during the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal match between France and South Africa at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis

South Africa's Mbongeni Mbonambi reacts during the Rugby World Cup quarterfinal match between France and South Africa at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) say that they are ‘deeply disappointed’ by the outcome of World Rugby’s investigation in the incident between Bongi Mbonambi and Tom Curry.

Curry told referee Ben O’Keeffe that Mbonambi called him a ‘white c**t’ during the Rugby World Cup semi-final between England and South Africa.

World Rugby subsequently launched a review of the incident after the RFU requested they investigate what Curry raised on the pitch.

On Thursday, World Rugby confirmed that Mbonambi would not face any sanction for the incident as there was ‘insufficient evidence’ at the time after rugby’s governing body had studied footage from the semi-final as well as the November 2022 clash between the two sides.

RFU slam World Rugby’s decision

The RFU reacted with a statement of their own where they slammed World Rugby’s decision and expressed their support for Curry.

They also accused Mbonambi of racially abusing Curry in both matches while condemning the online abuse that Curry and his family have received.

“The RFU fully support Tom Curry in raising the racially abusive behaviour he experienced whilst playing for England against South Africa,” the RFU statement read.

“During the match between England and South Africa on Saturday, 21st October 2023, Tom Curry reported to the referee that he has been racially abused by Mbongeni Mbonambi.

“The subsequent World Rugby investigation were informed by Tom Curry that he had also been the victim of the same abuse, from the same player, in the Autumn Test 2022. World Rugby have today announced their decision not to bring charges in respect of either incident.

“The RFU are deeply disappointed by the decision taken by World Rugby. 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.

“In their continued full support of Tom, the RFU together with the England Squad, condemn the disgusting abuse he and his family has received on social media as a result of his having had the courage to put unacceptable behaviour that has no place in society or on the rugby field, in the public eye.

“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.”

South African Rugby is yet to release a statement on the verdict.

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