Springboks hooker Bongi Mbonambi looks set to be free to play in the Rugby World Cup final against the All Blacks despite an investigation into an alleged racial slur directed at England’s Tom Curry in the semifinals.
World Rugby are currently investigating the allegation but according to the Telegraph, it is “highly unlikely” it will be completed ahead of Sunday morning’s final in Paris. South Africa are set to name their team tonight NZT with Mbonambi, the only specialist hooker in the South African squad, expected to be named in the two jersey.
Meanwhile, England captain Owen Farrell has condemned the abuse targeted at Curry since he complained of being subject to a racial slur.
South Africa Sports Minister Zizi Kodwa has supported Mbonambi but social media has also been used to vilify Curry, prompting support for the flanker from England and his Sale Sharks club on Wednesday.
When Curry was named to play against Argentina in the third-place game on Saturday, Farrell said the online abuse was unacceptable.
“Personally speaking, he has been first class like he always is. What isn’t understandable is the amount of abuse he has got, the effect that has had, not just on him,” Farrell said. “That is the bit I, and we, really don’t understand. It seems to be going more and more like this but it shouldn’t be.
“You are dealing with people, human beings. Just because you’re saying stuff on a computer screen or your phone doesn’t make it acceptable.
“He is one of the most honest and hard-working blokes I have ever played with. I hope the people who are close to him know he is being supported really well. He is around a lot of his mates. People support in different ways.”
Sale revealed Curry’s family has also come in for abuse.
“Sale Sharks’ owners, players, coaches and staff are absolutely appalled by the nature and level of disgusting abuse directed at Tom Curry and his family in relation to an incident in the England v South Africa World Cup semi-final,” Sale said in a statement on X, formerly known as Twitter. “Everyone at the club stands fully and proudly behind Tom.”
England coach Steve Borthwick praised Curry’s attitude when he considered whether to play him on Friday. The game will mark his 50th England cap.
“I chatted to Tom early in the week. It was around how he is physically because the way Tom plays he has more involvements than any other player on the pitch,” Borthwick said.
“Everyone saw when I took him off on Saturday night, he was cut, bloodied. It’s another six-day turnaround. He looked straight at me and point blank said, ‘I am desperate to play on Friday night.’ This is a guy who wants to play. There is no doubt in my mind.
“The way he has prepared himself has been incredible. That is Tom Curry. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
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