Curry was heard telling the referee he had been called a "white c***"
World Rugby confirmed it will formally review the allegation from England flanker Tom Curry that South Africa hooker Bongi Mbonambi called him a “white c***” during Saturday’s semi-final.
Curry was heard addressing referee Ben O’Keeffe in the 23rd minute of England’s agonising 16-15 defeat, with the ref mic clearly picking up the 25-year-old as he said: “Sir, sir, if their hooker calls me a white c***, what do I do?”
World Rugby review racial slur claims
O’Keeffe replied “Nothing, please” before saying “I’ll be on it” although it’s not clear if that was part of the same exchange. When questioned about the incident in the media mixed zone at the Stade de France, Curry confirmed that “Yeah”, Mbonambi had said something to him but refused to expand further.
In a statement released on Monday morning, World Rugby said: “World Rugby takes all 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 further comment until the conclusion of the process.”
When asked about the incident in his Sunday press appearance, England head coach Steve Borthwick said: “I am not going to comment on anything regarding that incident.”
South Africa’s forwards coach Deon Davids also fronted the media yesterday, saying he was “not aware of any comment”. However, SA Rugby later confirmed they would look into the alleged incident.
A spokesperson said: “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.”
World Rugby’s regulations stipulate that any verbal abuse based on “religion, colour, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation” is prohibited and the recommended entry point is a ban of six weeks.
South Africa would be unable to replace a banned player in their squad.