Mbonambi slams 'unprofessional' England over Curry allegations

rugby07 November 2023 18:19| © AFP
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Bongi Mbonambi © Gallo Images

Bongi Mbonambi has labelled England as "unprofessional" after the South Africa hooker was cleared of allegations he racially abused Tom Curry during the Rugby World Cup semifinals.

World Rugby found "insufficient evidence" to back up Curry's claim that he was called a "white (followed by an expletive)" by the Springboks player in South Africa's victory in Paris in October.

Mbonambi said the incident arose because Curry failed to realise he was speaking Afrikaans, a common practice among the Springboks to ensure opponents do not understand their messages.

"I think it is a very sad thing when you live in a first world country (England), you think the rest of the world speaks English," he told BBC Sport Africa on Tuesday.

"It was unprofessional on their part. They could have gone on a website and looked for an English dictionary and looked for the word in Afrikaans.

"People understood (in South Africa), but obviously their side was misunderstood."

World Rugby stressed that Curry made the allegation in good faith and added there was no suggestion that it was "deliberately false or malicious".

Both players have been subjected to online abuse since the alleged incident, with Curry's club, Sale Sharks, saying they were "disgusted" by some of the criticism aimed at their player.