Lawes reviews England's Rugby World Cup semi-final loss to South Africa
Governing body World Rugby have confirmed that they are reviewing an allegation made by England star Tom Curry that he was subject to “discriminatory language” during the Rugby World Cup semi-final defeat to South Africa. Curry approached referee Ben O’Keeffe and asked what to do if he was told a slur, now World Rugby will be looking into the matter.
A World Rugby statement read: “World Rugby takes allegations of discriminatory behaviour extremely seriously. We can confirm that we are formally reviewing the allegation made by England’s Tom Curry in relation to the use of discriminatory language during the England versus South Africa Rugby World Cup 2023 semi-final on Saturday. World Rugby will not be making any further comment until the conclusion of the process.”
Curry approached O’Keeffe in the 28th minute and was overheard on the microphone saying: “Sir, sir, if their hooker calls me a white c***, what do I do?” The Springbok hooker at the time was Bongi Mbonambi.
The official replied: “Nothing, please”, before adding: “I’ll be on it.” The pair were also involved in an altercation at full-time, when Mbonambi’s side sealed their place in the final to face New Zealand after a late penalty ensured the 16-15 win.
They refused to shake hands after going down the tunnel at the Stade de France, while speaking after the game Curry confirmed that an incident occurred but failed to elaborate further on the details.
“No. It doesn’t need to be talked about. I’m not talking about it now,” Curry said in the aftermath of the game after replying “Yeah” when asked if something happened between the flanker and Mbonambi.
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England boss Steve Borthwick also declined to comment on the matter as World Rugby set a 36-hour deadline for the incident to be reported, which they are now investigating.
On Sunday, South Africa forwards coach Deon Davids admitted that he was not aware of any allegations towards his player. “I’m not aware of that,” he said. “I’m not aware of any comment, if it was discussed, I’m not sure what the comment was or when it was said. I don’t know.”
South Africa Rugby swiftly released a statement after: “We are aware of the allegation, which we take very seriously, and are reviewing the available evidence. We will engage with Bongi if anything is found to substantiate the claim.”
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