Mbonambi: World Rugby's Ongoing Investigation into Bok, but Swift Action Appears Unlikely

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Mbonambi: World Rugby’s Ongoing Investigation into Bok, but Swift Action Appears Unlikely

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World Rugby is currently in the process of collecting evidence for its investigation regarding whether Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi racially abused England’s Tom Curry during their recent match. Regardless of the verdict, it appears that taking any action against Mbonambi before the upcoming World Cup final against New Zealand at the Stade de France is highly unlikely.

The controversy arose when England lodged a complaint, alleging that Mbonambi used a racial slur against Curry during the intense semifinal match, which South Africa won by a narrow margin of 16-15 at the Stade de France.

Dominic Rumbles, World Rugby’s chief communications officer, responded to the situation by stating, “We spoke about that yesterday and can’t add anything more to that statement. We will update you as soon as we have something to update. The aim is to do that review as quickly as possible.” When pressed about the timeline for the investigation, Rumbles explained, “The first part of the review is about gathering evidence, and we will update as soon as we can.”

The South African team is undoubtedly eager to learn more about Mbonambi’s availability for the critical final match. Even if there are grounds to charge the player, it seems improbable that a disciplinary hearing can be arranged before Saturday.

The Boks are scheduled to announce their lineup to face New Zealand on Thursday at 9 a.m. If Mbonambi is ruled out for the final, Deon Fourie is likely to take his place, with Marco van Staden assuming a position on the bench.

Bongi Mbonambi, the Boks’ sole specialist hooker, has played a pivotal role in their campaign, demonstrating admirable resolve and endurance in the absence of Malcolm Marx, who was sidelined due to a long-term knee injury. All Blacks’ forwards coach Jason Ryan acknowledged Mbonambi’s contribution, stating, “Malcolm Marx is a world-class hooker, but Mbonambi has played big minutes and done a good job for them.”

The matter has also drawn New Zealand into the discussion. New Zealand’s defense coach, Scott McLeod, emphasized that it is a process for World Rugby to handle. McLeod suggested that any repercussions from the investigation would significantly affect the South African team, noting that Mbonambi is nearly indispensable to their cause. He added, “He is a leader of their team. When Siya [Kolisi, South Africa captain] goes off, he becomes the captain, so I imagine it would impact them.”

On Monday, World Rugby released a statement confirming its commitment to investigating the complaint. The statement declared, “World Rugby takes all allegations of discriminatory behavior extremely seriously. We can confirm we are formally reviewing the allegation made by England’s Tom Curry in relation to the use of discriminatory language during the England vs. South Africa semifinal. World Rugby will not be making further comment until the conclusion of the process.

Reference:

https://www.heraldlive.co.za/sport/rugby/2023-10-25-mbonambi-world-rugby-still-probing-bok-but-action-now-seems-unlikely/

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