Mbonambi says Curry incident was lost in translation
Springboks hooker is glad it is now in the past but calls the allegations against him ‘unprofessional’
SA hooker Bongi Mbonambi has denied he used discriminatory language towards England flanker Tom Curry in their Rugby World Cup semifinal in October, labelling the allegations against him “unprofessional”.
World Rugby, which was also asked to review an incident in a match between the two teams in London in 2022, found insufficient evidence after a review of video footage and audio, and submissions from players on both sides.
The Springbok hooker believes Curry misinterpreted his instructions to teammates in Afrikaans, which have a similar sound to the alleged discriminatory language, in the tense 16-15 victory in Paris.
“I think it is 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.
“It was unprofessional on their part. They could have gone on a website and looked for an English dictionary and for the word in Afrikaans. People [in SA] understood but obviously their side misunderstood.
“I’m glad it was well taken care of and that is all in the past now. But I have never racially swore at him.”
World Rugby conceded Curry had made the accusation in good faith, but the outcome infuriated England’s Rugby Football Union, which said it “fully support Tom Curry in raising the racially abusive behaviour he experienced”.
Curry and Mbonambi both received online abuse in the aftermath of the match, which drew stinging criticism from both teams.
As it happened, Mbonambi lasted only three minutes of SA’s 12-11 victory over New Zealand in the final after leaving the field with a knee injury.
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