By Le Figaro with Reuters
The Springbok hooker returned to the accusations of racism against him this Tuesday. He was accused of having slipped a racist phrase to the Englishman Tom Curry.
The South African hooker Bongi Mbonambi denied using discriminatory language towards England flanker Tom Curry during the Rugby World Cup semi-final last month, calling the allegations against him “unprofessional“.
World Rugby, which was also asked to review a similar incident during a match between the two teams in London last year, deemed the evidence insufficient after reviewing video and audio footage, as well as as the observations of players from both camps.
The Springbok hooker believes Curry misinterpreted instructions he gave to his teammates in Afrikaans, which sounded similar to the alleged discriminatory language, during the 16-15 victory in Paris. “I think it’s a very sad thing when you live in a first world country and you think the rest of the world speaks English“, Mbonambi told BBC Sport Africa on Tuesday.
“This is a lack of professionalism on their part. They could have gone to a website and looked up an English dictionary and the word in Afrikaans. The people (in South Africa) understood, but their side obviously misunderstood. I’m glad the matter was resolved well and is in the past. But I never insulted him for racial reasons“.
World Rugby acknowledged that Curry had made the accusation in good faith, but the result infuriated England’s Rugby Football Union, which said it “fully supported Tom Curry in his denunciation of the racist behavior to which he was subjected“. Both Curry and Mbonambi were subjected to insults online after the match, which drew harsh criticism from both teams.