World Rugby has confirmed that England have 36 hours from the end of the match to lodge a complaint. Tom Curry alerted the referee to an incident involving Bongi Mbonambi’s flip flop about 30 minutes into the semi-final loss to South Africa.
13:27 UK Sunday 22 October 2023
South Africa have launched an investigation into alleged racist slurs directed at England striker Tom Curry by their winger Bongi Mbonambi during Saturday’s World Cup semi-final.
England have until Monday morning to lodge a complaint with the complainant after Curry claimed he was the victim of a discriminatory remark in Saturday’s 16-15 World Cup semi-final defeat by the Springboks.
Curry brought the Mbonambi flip-flop incident to the attention of referee Ben O’Keeffe around the half-hour mark at the Stade de France and asked what he should do in response.
O’Keeffe replied: “Nothing, please. I’ll be there.”
When asked after the game if Mbonambi said anything he shouldn’t have done, Curry said “yes,” though he declined to reveal what was said.
Mbonambi refused to shake Curry’s hand at the end of the dramatic clash in Paris, which Handre Pollard won with a 78th-minute penalty.
World Rugby confirmed that England have 36 hours from the end of the match to lodge a complaint with the cited official, with until 10am BST on Monday to act.
South Africa responded on Sunday by confirming they were investigating the incident.
“We are aware of the allegation, which we take very seriously, and are reviewing the available evidence. If anything is found to support the allegation, we will engage with Bongi,” SA Rugby said in a statement.
The sport’s global governing body may also decide to pursue the matter with any case likely to fall under the banner of “damaging the reputation of the game”.
Also, if the citation officer finds any evidence of an alleged racist remark, he can initiate disciplinary proceedings against Mbonambi for a misdemeanor that likely violates Law 9.12 – a player must not verbally abuse anyone.
South Africa forwards coach Deon Davids was asked about the incident at his side’s media briefing on Sunday morning.
“I’m not aware of that. I’m not aware of any comment. If it was discussed, I’m not sure what the comment was and when it was said. I don’t know,” Davids said.
England led for the full five minutes of the semi-final and were nine points ahead until RG Snyman crossed in the 70th minute as the Springboks scrum took control.
Victory for South Africa means they will now face New Zealand in the World Cup final at the Stade de France in Paris on Saturday 28 October (kick-off 20:00 BST).
England’s defeat means they take on Argentina in next week’s World Cup third-place play-off at the Stade de France in Paris on Friday 27 October (kick-off 20:00 BST).
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