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Bongi issues statement on tense exchange with referee

SPOTLIGHT: Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi has issued a statement after his tense exchange with referee Aimee Barrett-Theron during a United Rugby Championship clash between the Lions and Sharks went viral.

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The exchange happened a few minutes before half-time after the Sharks had a try disallowed when TMO Ben Crouse intervened and pointed out some foul play in the build-up.

Mbonambi made his frustrations clear which led to Barrett-Theron asking the World Cup winner for some respect.

In a statement on Monday, Mbonambi said he apologised to Barrett-Theron.

“As players, we have to take a hard look at ourselves after this result,” said Mbonambi.

“We cannot blame anyone else and have a lot of hard work ahead of us.

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“I am an all-in type of player and sometimes my emotions may get the better of me.”

Mbonambi added: “I have full respect for officials and the role they play within the sport.

“It was never my intention to come across as rude or difficult.

“I apologised to the referee at half-time and meant absolutely no disrespect.”

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The 10-40 defeat at Ellis Park was the Sharks’ 10th of a miserable URC season so far.

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