World Rugby to review Tom Curry's claim of being called 'white ****'

World Rugby launch investigation into Tom Curry’s allegation he was called a ‘white ****’ by South African hooker Bongi Mbonambi during England’s Rugby World Cup semi-final defeat in Paris

  • Tom Curry had alerted referee Ben O’Keeffe to an alleged comment on Saturday
  • The Springboks edged a 16-15 encounter with a penalty 157 seconds from time 
  • MIKE BROWN: England played the perfect game for 78 minutes of the semi-final 
  • Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results

World Rugby have confirmed that an official investigation has been launched after England flanker Tom Curry complained that he had been the victim of racist abuse during the World Cup semi-final defeat against South Africa on Saturday.

The Sale openside approached referee Ben O’Keeffe in the 28th minute of the match at the Stade de France and was heard to say over the ref mic: ‘Sir, sir, if their hooker calls me a white ****, what do I do?’ 

O’Keeffe replied: ‘Nothing, please.’ The Springbok hooker was Bongi Mbonambi, who played the full 80 minutes of the game which his team won 16-15.

A statement released today by World Rugby – the global governing body – said: ‘World Rugby takes allegations of discriminatory behaviour extremely seriously. 

‘We can confirm that we are formally reviewing the allegation made by England’s Tom Curry in relation to the use of discriminatory language during the England versus South Africa Rugby World Cup 2023 semi-final on Saturday.

England flanker Tom Curry had accused Bongi Mbonambi of calling him a ‘white ****’

In the 28th minute, Curry (seen right) approached referee Ben O’Keefe and is heard to say over the referee’s microphone: ‘Sir, sir, if their hooker calls me a white ****, what do I do?’

‘World Rugby will not be making any further comment until the conclusion of the process.’

Mail Sport understands that the RFU lodged a complaint with the tournament authorities, in relation to the alleged outburst by Mbonambi. 

Curry was visibly furious when asked about the incident in the post-match ‘mixed zone’ where interviews take place – confirming that Mbonambi had said something to him, but refusing to elaborate on the details. 

After the final whistle on Saturday, there was an altercation between the pair, as the Bok No 2 refused to shake Curry’s hand and stormed off down the tunnel.

That flashpoint occurred amid various confrontations at the end of the thunderous encounter between the sides.

England players were aggrieved when South Africa’s replacement full-back, Willie le Roux, ran towards them and screamed in their faces, after the world champions snatched victory, having been dominated for most of the game. 

Handre Pollard’s penalty 157 seconds from time gave South Africa a one-point lead late in the game

South African hooker Mbonambi played the full 80 minutes at No 2 for the Springboks’ win on Saturday

Mbonambi appeared to then ignore Curry’s offer of a handshake after the game and headed straight down the tunnel

Curry refused to elaborate on what comment had been made to him after the final whistle

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