Relief! Springboks get green light from World Rugby as Bongi Mbonambi cleared of all allegations

South Africa's hooker Bongi Mbonambi (R) raises his arms as he celebrates South Africa's victory at the end of the France 2023 Rugby World Cup semi-final match between England and South Africa at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis, on the outskirts of Paris

World Rugby on Thursday cleared Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi of all allegations, freeing up the player to take his place in South Africa’s team to face the All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup final this weekend. Picture: Miguel Medina/AFP

Published Oct 26, 2023


World Rugby on Thursday released a statement saying there is insufficient evidence to proceed with any charges against Springboks hooker Bongi Mbonambi, ahead of the Rugby World Cup final against the All Blacks in Saint-Denis on Saturday.

In the statement, World Rugby said it has also investigated a further allegation concerning the player from last year.

The full statement reads as follows:

“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.

All allegations taken seriously

“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.

“World Rugby has determined that there is insufficient evidence at this time to proceed with charges.”

Springbok coach Jacques Nienaber and Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus also on Thursday also announced their Siya Kolisi-team to face New Zealand.