SA Rugby have released a statement regarding a racial slur that was alleged to have been said to an England player during the World Cup semi-final on Saturday evening.
Whilst the match was a tense tussle with plenty of niggle between the old rivals, the alleged moment has emerged that is rather less savoury.
Caught on ref mic, England backrow Tom Curry approached referee Ben O’Keeffe to explain that Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi had verbally abused him.
Curry said to O’Keeffe, “Sir, if their hooker calls me a white c***. What do I do?” to which the referee replied “Nothing please.”
Asked about the incident post match and whether it cleared up after the match, Curry said, “No, it doesn’t need to be talked about.”
It was then put to Springbok assistant coach Deon Davids if he was aware of the incident, “Honestly, I’m not aware of any comment. It was never discussed, so I’m just not quite sure what the comment was or where it was said, so I don’t know.” Davids concluded.
SA Rugby has since changed their stance on the situation, saying that they are taking the allegation “very seriously”.
“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,” the SA Rugby statement read.
Mbonambi, who refused to shake Curry’s hand after the match, could potentially face a ban should he been found guilty of the offence.