Tom Curry doubles down on racism claim
REACTION: England flank Tom Curry has doubled down on the claim of racism he levelled against South Africa, just days after Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi labelled England as ‘unprofessional’.
Curry, in an interview with the Daily Mail, said he stood by his accusation that Mbonambi racially abused him in the World Cup semifinal.
World Rugby found “insufficient evidence” to back up Curry’s claim that he was called a “white ****” by the Bok midway through the first half of the match in Paris.
The England flank added that the semifinal was not the first time that such language was used against him.
He claimed it also happened in November last year, in the Test between the two countries at Twickenham.
That is a claim backed up by the Rugby Football Union.
“I didn’t really want to speak about it from the start,” Curry said about the issue he raised with referee Ben O’Keeffe – the audio from the referee’s mic picked up by the media and sparked the whole saga.
“‘For me, on both occasions [November and the World Cup], the ball was out of play.
“Me and Bongi were talking and there’s no misunderstanding on my part.
“I went to the referee straight away.
“I heard what I heard.
“That’s all I really want to say about it and I won’t really be talking about it again.”
Mbonambi this week said the incident arose because Curry failed to realise he was speaking Afrikaans, a common practice among the Springboks to ensure opponents do not understand their messages.
“I think it is a very sad thing when you live in a first world country [England], you think the rest of the world speaks English,” he told BBC Sport Africa on Tuesday.
“It was unprofessional on their part.
“They could have gone on a website and looked for an English dictionary and looked for the word in Afrikaans.
“People [in South Africa] understood, but obviously their side was misunderstood.”
World Rugby stressed that Curry made the allegation in good faith and added there was no suggestion that it was “deliberately false or malicious”.