Tom Curry stands by Bongi Mbonambi claim as England flanker provides new information

Adam Kyriacou
England flanker Tom Curry talking to referee Ben O'Keeffe.

England flanker Tom Curry talking to referee Ben O'Keeffe during the Rugby World Cup semi-final against South Africa.

England flanker Tom Curry has stood by his accusation that Springboks hooker Bongi Mbonambi racially abused him, saying it occurred while the ball was out of play.

The alleged incident took place during the Rugby World Cup semi-final between the two sides, a match South Africa won 16-15 at the Stade de France in Paris.

Insufficient evidence

World Rugby found “insufficient evidence” to back up the England back-row’s claim that he was called a “white c***” by Mbonambi midway through the first half.

Springboks veteran Mbonambi has since spoken to the media and accused England of being “unprofessional” regarding the allegations, insisting “misunderstanding” arose because Curry failed to realise he was speaking Afrikaans, which is regular practice for Springboks in order to hide calls.

“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,” he told BBC Sport Africa on Tuesday.

“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.”

However, Curry insists “I heard what I heard” and has since been the victim of online abuse, with his girlfriend and family also on the receiving end of that.

“I didn’t really want to speak about it from the start,” he told the Daily Mail.

Ball was out of play

“For me, on both occasions, the ball was out of play. Me and Bongi were talking and there’s no misunderstanding from my part. I went to the referee straight away. I heard what I heard. That’s all I really want to say about it and I won’t really be talking about it again.

“It was tough for my family, my girlfriend and my brother. It was a tough experience but it is what it is. The investigation’s been done and that’s all I want to say about it.”

READ MORE: Springboks hero Handre Pollard ‘booed’ after returning to Leicester Tigers