Breaking news: World Rugby to probe Springbok racial slur claims

Before playing the All Blacks in the World Cup championship game, South Africa found themselves in the middle of controversy. World Rugby has confirmed that it will look into claims that Springboks hooker Bongi Mbonambi used a racial slur.

The South Africans defeated England 16-15 in the first half of their semi-final on Sunday in Paris, and England flanker Tom Curry accused Mbonambi of using racial slurs.

Curry enquired of New Zealander and match official Ben O’Keeffe, “If their hooker calls me a white c***, what do I do?”

“Nothing, please,” O’Keefe retorted.

If found guilty, Mbonambi will probably be barred from the championship game, depriving South Africa of one of their greatest players and leaving them with a gaping hole in the front row.

We are aware of the claim, which we take extremely seriously, and are assessing the available information, the country’s rugby union, SA Rugby, said in a statement.

“We will engage with Bongi if anything is found to substantiate the claim.”

Although the All Blacks claim they aren’t paying much attention to the World Rugby probe, defense coach Scott McLeod says it would be a major setback for South Africa if Mbonambi were to be disqualified.

“I believe that would be a huge blow to them if anything came of that for him. He is the team’s captain. I assume that would have a significant effect on them when Siya (Kolisi, the South African captain), who will take over as captain, walks off.

The Springboks could do without the drama as they get ready for the World Cup final on Sunday, but Davids is convinced his team will rise to the occasion.

He thinks that the tiniest of margins will determine the outcome of the game.

“I predict that the rivalry between the two teams will reach a new level. Both teams have outstanding talent.

“The team that manages pressure, executes, makes the best use of its opportunities, and follows through on its plan will win. Or perhaps it will come down to one outstanding performance from one person.

Scott Barrett of New Zealand tackles Eben Etzebeth of South Africa.Image: Photosport

The All Blacks have already faced the Springboks twice this season. In July, New Zealand easily defeated them in Auckland, and in August, South Africa thrashed them at Twickenham.

For the reigning champions to think that the outcome in London will mean anything on Sunday morning in Paris, according to Davids, would be a trap.

“The game will be entirely different. I believe New Zealand is playing terrific rugby, and we [the Springboks] will be fooling ourselves if we dwell on the past and do not live in the present. We are up against a strong foe.

The All Blacks are a far better team now than they were at Twickenham, according to McLeod.

There are several features of our game that are currently functional. That increases belief. We’ve been working on it for a while, so it’s encouraging to see it perform well in those crucial quarter- and semifinal moments.

“It’s just about harnessing that now and making sure we do it again.”

Prop Tamaiti Williams concurs with McLeod that their scrum and lineout must be nearly immaculate if they are to defeat the Springboks.


The front rower played South Africa twice this year, first at Mt. Smart and again at Twickenham. The front rower made his test debut against them both times.

He is fully aware of what the All Blacks will face on Sunday in Paris.

They are huge, clinical men, so if you give them an opportunity, they’ll take it. Being clean is everything for us and for me, and you just have to match the physicality they’re going to bring because we have to put a stop to it. We need to strike the appropriate balance because we’ve faced them both successfully and disastrously this year.

The All Blacks will have a decent chance of winning if they can strike the correct balance, but one thing is clear from South Africa’s semi-final victory against England: the Springboks should never be underestimated.

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