December 11, 2023

World Rugby statement: The Bongi Mbonambi investigation has ended

World Rugby statement: The Bongi Mbonambi investigation has ended

Bongi Mbonambi is free to play for the Springboks in this Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final versus New Zealand after an investigation into allegations that he used discriminatory language in last weekend’s semi-final win over England found there was insufficient evidence to proceed with charges.

A statement read: “World Rugby has undertaken a review of allegations made by England’s Tom Curry in relation to the use of discriminatory language by South Africa’s Mbongeni Mbonambi during the England versus South Africa Rugby World Cup 2023 semi-final on Saturday along with a further allegation brought forward in recent days about a previous match in the Autumn Nations Series 2022.

“Any allegation of discrimination is taken extremely seriously by World Rugby, warranting a thorough investigation.

“Having considered all the available evidence, including match footage, audio and evidence from both teams, the governing body has determined that there is insufficient evidence at this time to proceed with charges.

“Therefore, the matter is deemed closed unless additional evidence comes to light.

“It is important to note that World Rugby accepts that Tom Curry made the allegations in good faith and that there is no suggestion that the allegation was deliberately false or malicious.

“World Rugby is also concerned by the social media abuse that both players have been subjected to this week. There is no place in rugby or society for discrimination, abuse or hate speech, and World Rugby urges fans to embrace the sport’s values of respect, integrity and solidarity.”

Mbonambi was named in the Springboks team for the final when it was announced on Thursday, Jacques Niebaber making two changes elsewhere in his starting team following the 16-15 semi-final win over England.

Both alterations are at half-back where Handre Pollard and Faf de Klerk, two of last weekend’s replacements, have been named to start. Neither Manie Libbok nor Cobus Reinach are involved in the match day 23 as the Springboks have gone with a seven/one forwards/backs split on their bench.

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